Bank of England apologises for past links to slavery

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England has apologised for the links some of its past governors had with slavery, as a global anti-racism movement sparked by the death of George Floyd forces many British institutions to confront uncomfortable truths about their pasts.

The central bank called the trade in human beings “an unacceptable part of English history”, and pledged not to display any images of former leaders who had any involvement.

“The bank has commenced a thorough review of its collection of images of former governors and directors, to ensure none with any such involvement in the slave trade remain on display anywhere in the bank,’, the institution said in statement.

The decision comes after two British companies on Thursday promised to financially support projects assisting minorities after being called out for past roles in the slave trade.

Insurance giant Lloyd’s of London made the pledges after media highlighted its inclusion on a University College London database of individuals and companies with ties to the slave trade.

Launched in 2013, the database shows how deeply the tentacles of slavery are woven into modern British society.

It lists thousands of people who received compensation for loss of their “possessions” when slave ownership was outlawed by Britain in 1833. It reveals that many businesses, buildings and art collections that still exist today were funded by the proceeds of the slave trade, and highlights the fact that many 19th-Century Britons benefitted from slave ownership.