University of Liverpool students campaign to remove Gladstone name

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Roscoe and Gladstone HallImage source, Google
Image caption,
Roscoe and Gladstone Hall is currently being demolished for redevelopment

A petition has been launched to remove the name of a former prime minister who spoke out against the abolition of slavery from a university building.

University of Liverpool student Alisha Raithatha said William Gladstone's "racially marred legacy" should be dropped from the name of the Roscoe and Gladstone Hall.

It will be discussed by the Liverpool Guild of Students and, if agreed, it will be raised with the university.

The university has declined to comment.

Ms Raithatha, a veterinary medicine undergraduate, has suggested changing the name to reflect an alumni of the university such as poet Carol Ann Duffy or Channel 4 News host Jon Snow.

Writing on the Guild website, she said: "We believe that someone with this controversial background should not have a university hall named after them especially in a city where we try hard not to forget the atrocities that took place on our docks."

Image source, Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image caption,
William Gladstone was born in Liverpool in 1809

More than 50 students have backed the petition on the Guild's website, passing the 20 needed for it to be debated at a meeting on 21 November.

Sean Turner, president of Liverpool Guild of Students, said it will be discussed at a Guild Summit of 50 students.

"The students at Guild Summit will discuss the idea and come to a consensus decision on what action, if any, should be taken by the Guild," he said.

Liberal politician Gladstone is the only person to have been prime minister on four separate occasions.

He is described as having "ultra-conservative" views and spoke out against abolition in Parliament because his family had slaves on their West Indian plantation.

There have been a number of recent campaigns to drop names which honour those with links to slavery, including Colston Hall in Bristol.