A CLUTCH of Liverpool's most famous street names could disappear from the map because of their association with the Slave Trade, the Daily Post can reveal.
City centre Tarleton Street, Manesty's Lane and Clarence Street would be removed from all records to be replaced by names linked to the abolition of slavery such as William Roscoe and William Wilberforce.
The name of Exchange Flags, where slave dealing took place, and Rodney Street - named after Admiral Lord Rodney, a staunch supporter of the slave trade - could also be relegated to the history books.
Cllr Barbara Mace, who is promoting the scheme, also wants a street to be named after race murder victim Anthony Walker.
Her proposal is to be put before a meeting of the city council on Wednesday.
Last night, Cllr Mace insisted she was not trying to re-write history. She said: "I believe that this small gesture in 2007 will mean a great deal to many people."
Cllr Mace, who works in the Foundation for Citizenship at Liverpool John Moores University, says her proposal is aimed at marking the bicentenary in 2007, Liverpool's 800th birthday year, of the abolition of the slave trade.
The Woolton councillor has told colleagues: "I want the city council to resolve that all streets, squares and public places named after those involved in promoting or profiteering from the slave trade be renamed.
"I also want the council to mark the bicentenary by substituting new names celebrating those who opposed slavery and who represent diversity and the contemporary challenge of racial harmony."
Her plan was welcomed by Labour leader Cllr Joe Anderson, who says Exchange Flags could be re-named Independent Square.
He said: "You could say there is an argument for keeping things, warts and all, but normally streets are named as an accolade for people who deserve to be remembered for good deeds. There is nothing good about slavery."
Cllr Mace wants experts at the Merseyside Maritime Museum to give advice on the scheme to find new names.
She has discussed her move with city council leader Cllr Warren Bradley who endorses her decision to put the proposal up for debate by the full city council.
Cllr Mace said: "As part of our Roscoe Lectures at the foundation, we are organising events linked to the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Slave Trade.
"I realised that many of our streets of today are linked to names or activities that involved slavery. One of the key names is Manesty's Lane, named after the owner of a fleet of slave ships.
"Grosvenor is carrying out its Paradise Street project and is re-configuring the streets around Hanover Street, including Manesty's Lane. I felt it would be a good opportunity to change the name.
"These names will still live on and I am not trying to sweep our past under the carpet. I do not know whether there will be any opposition, or if people will generally agree that this is a small gesture worth making.
"I can imagine there will be opposition to changing well-known names such as Rodney Street and Exchange Flags, but they also have an association with the Slave Trade.
"A lot of deals and transactions involving slave ships were carried out in Exchange Flags and Rodney Street is named after Admiral Lord Rodney."
The proposal sparked mixed reactions across the city last night.
Dr Emlyn Williams, chairman of the Rodney Street Association, said: "I'm totally opposed to this because it's a form of whitewashing history."
But Gloria Hyatt, founder member of the Afro-Carribean-led Merseyside Campaign Against Racist Terrorism, welcomed the idea.
She said: "I think we should change the street names and replace them with names that celebrate successful black people."
City's merchants became rich from slave trade profits
LIVERPOOL'S links with the slave trade is well documented at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
The city was a major slaving port and its ships and merchants dominated the transatlantic slave trade in the second half of the 18th century. The town and its inhabitants derived great civic and personal wealth from the trade which laid the foundations for the port's future growth.
Probably three-quarters of all European slaving ships at this period left from Liverpool. Overall, Liverpool ships transported half of the 3m Africans carried across the Atlantic by British slavers.
Nearly all the principal merchants and citizens of Liverpool, including many of the mayors, were involved. Thomas Golightly (1732-1821), who was first elected to the Town Council in 1770 and became Mayor in 1772-3, is just one example. Several of the town's MPs invested in the trade and spoke strongly in its favour in Parliament.
James Penny, a slave trader, was presented with a magnificent silver epergne in 1792 for speaking in favour of the slave trade to a parliamentary committee.
The last British slaver, the Kitty's Amelia, left Liverpool under Captain Hugh Crow in July 1807 - the year the British Parliament abolished the trade.
The most prominent abolitionists, Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce led the British parliamentary campaign to abolish the slave trade and slavery.
In Liverpool, William Roscoe was one of the best known abolitionists. He wrote poetry and pamphlets in favour of abolition. Opinion in Liverpool was generally pro-slavery and like other abolitionists, Roscoe tended to work behind the scenes rather than openly declaring his views.
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