The Bank of England removes paintings of former governors linked to the slave trade

The Bank of England has said that it has removed ten oil paintings and busts of seven governors and directors who had known connections to the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries and has hired a researcher on slavery for its museum.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests last year, the bank said that it would review its art collection.

"The review is complete and artworks depicting former Governors and Directors with links to the slave trade, have been removed from display," a BoE spokesperson said.

The portraits and busts depicted Gilbert Heathcote, the Bank's founding director, James Bateman, Robert Bristow, Robert Clayton, William Dawsonne, William Manning and John Pearse. They had been on public display within the BoE's headquarters.

Announcing the review in June 2020, the BoE said it has never itself been directly involved in the slave trade, but was aware of some "inexcusable connections" involving previous governors and directors, and have apologised for them.

The Lloyd's of London insurance market advertised in February for an archivist whose jobs would include researching artefacts related to the African and Caribbean history of slavery and its eventual abolition. The City of London, where both financial institutions are located, is also reviewing what to do about the statue of Major William Beckford in its Guildhall home.

Beckford was twice Lord Mayor of London in the 18th century and actually had plantations in Jamaica with slave workers.