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Thread: Barclay's (Martin's) Bank Doors Linked to Slavery?

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    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    A bit off topic but as slavery has been mentioned. The sculptures at the entrance to the Martins bank buildings on Water St show a merchant pressing his hands down onto the heads of two African boys. I was led to believe this was to do with slavery. Frank Carlyle in Liverpool unseen gives the opposite account mentioning what they are carrying and says that it signifies that the prosperity of the city and this building in particular being a bank is helping the lesser poorer nations? Anyone got the real take on it?


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    MissInformed
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    i watched a programme a while back (can't for the life of me remember what it was)
    and a Liverpool history expert was showing someone those 'slavery sculpture/carvings' mentioned by ged and the man said they were deffo to do with slavery.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Hi Ged and Miss

    As you see, I made us a whole new thread on this topic.

    As described in the the description of Liverpool treasures on the Liverpool Liverpool's World Heritage site, that the ornamentation on the bank building is meant to just "celebrate maritime themes as well as money."

    It would seem that the frieze around the Town Hall is more correctly linked to slavery, for, as stated in the same source:

    John Prestwich, in General View of the Town ... of Liverpool, (c. 1780,) describes the Town Hall:

    "The Exchange is an elegant square edifice built of hewn stone with the front and one side only in view the rest being obscured by the houses which are built close to it ... Between the Capitals runs an Entablature or Fillet on which are placed in base relief the Busts of Blackamoors & Elephants with the Teeth of the Latter, with such like emblematical Figures, representing the African Trade & Commerce."


    Can someone provide a photograph of the bronze doors? Thanks in advance. I worked for a while in the bank when it was Martin's Bank so I am interested for that reason as well.

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    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    Ref: Slavery links. Someone (I think on a recent Herbert Tyson Smith tour of the city centre) mentioned that a frieze on the South portico of the St. Georges Hall was removed during the restoration and not replaced due to its slavery implications. Does anyone know if this is right? It wasn't by Tyson Smith but just mentioned in passing. We were looking at HTS bronze cenotaph sculptures at the time.

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    PhilipG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Ref: Slavery links. Someone (I think on a recent Herbert Tyson Smith tour of the city centre) mentioned that a frieze on the South portico of the St. Georges Hall was removed during the restoration and not replaced due to its slavery implications. Does anyone know if this is right? It wasn't by Tyson Smith but just mentioned in passing. We were looking at HTS bronze cenotaph sculptures at the time.

    That is the reason why it hasn't been replaced, but it was taken down in 1950 because it became unsafe.
    Political Correctness seems to me to be an excuse not to bother going to the expense of putting it back.
    Last edited by PhilipG; 01-03-2007 at 03:00 PM.

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    I couldn't agree more. The thing is, even the slave tour guide wants these things on show as a reminder. It is not healthy to hide such things as unsavoury as they were.

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