The only primary school in the City of London changes its name from 17th century slave trader Sir John Cass
The only primary school in the City of London changes its name to avoid ‘celebrating’ 17th century slave trader Sir John Cass
- Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School said it was “incompatible” with values
- The only primary school in City of London will be The Aldgate School
- It announced on its website that the decision comes after protests from Black Lives Matter
- Two memorials to Sir John Cass, bust and monument, will also be removed
The only primary school in the City of London changes its name to distance itself from a 17th century slave trader.
Sir John Cass Foundation Primary School administrators said the name was “incompatible” with the school’s values. It will now be The Aldgate School.
It announced on its website that the decision comes after the Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s death in the US.
Two memorials to Sir John Cass, a bust and a statue, will also be removed.
A statue of Sir John Cass is currently being demolished by the foundation that bears his name
The new name links the school (pictured) to Aldgate, one of the seven gates in London’s former Roman wall that once stood directly outside the school
The new name links the school to Aldgate, one of the seven gates in London’s former Roman wall that once stood directly outside the school.
Sir John Cass’s Foundation was established in 1748 as an educational charity and continues to fund primary school.
Who was Sir John Cass?
Sir John Cass (1661-1718) was a merchant, politician and councilor for the old London borough of Portsoken, in 1711 he was elected sheriff of London and later knighted.
Cass was responsible for helping the slave trade settle across the Atlantic.
He traded with slave agents in the African fortresses and the Caribbean.
Cass served on the Court of Assistants of the Royal African Company between 1705 and 1708 and donated shares in the Royal African Company upon his death.
The Royal African Company was established by Royal Charter under King Charles II. It gave a monopoly on the slave trade from ports in the west. The British slave trader Edward Colston played a major role in the business.
Cass also founded an educational charity, Sir John Cass’s Foundation, which is still in existence to this day.
The charity provides education to underprivileged youth across London.
On its website, the foundation described Sir John Cass as “a merchant and politician, whose wealth was used posthumously to create the Foundation to provide educational benefits to underprivileged children.”
However, he was also an important figure in The Royal African Company, which transported more African slaves to America during the Atlantic slave trade than any other institution.
A statement from the school board, published on the school’s website, said it was “incompatible” with the school’s values to “celebrate” Sir John Cass.
It read: ‘In June 2020, the board of directors decided that the name of the school should be changed in light of Sir John Cass’s involvement in slavery, highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd.
The new school name should be a geographic rather than a biographical name, retaining a sense of the school’s long history and its ties to the Sir John Cass’s Foundation and the Church of England, and its unique position as the only one by the state maintained school in the City of London. ‘
The school adds that it is ‘committed to diversity’ and that ‘the way the curriculum is taught in school will be revised, giving children a better understanding of all histories’.
The Founder’s Day celebration is also being replaced by a new ceremony.
The school said the new name will be adopted once regulatory approval is granted by the City of London Corporation.
The City of London Corporation has separately launched a three-month consultation on what to do with monuments related to racism and slavery.