Mayor's response to the Museum of the Home's decision to retain statue of Sir Robert Geffrye
The Museum of the Home has today announced its decision to retain the statue of Sir Robert Geffrye. The Council worked with the Museum, to design the consultation to ensure that it reached local residents in the right way and was not involved in making the decision about the statue.
The Council is continuing its own review into the naming of public spaces to ensure they best reflect Hackney's diversity and history of fighting racism.
The Mayor of Hackney has responded to the decision, made by the Museum’s Board.
I am very disappointed by the decision taken by the board of the Museum of the Home. This was an opportunity to send a very clear message about Hackney’s values and the Museum’s role in our borough at an important time, when people across the world are looking to organisations to make bold statements and reflect the strength of feeling within their communities.
Many local people will feel very uncomfortable about this decision, especially after so many took the time to respond to the consultation. Residents have made it clear how important they think it is that changes are made, to ensure the borough’s parks and public spaces reflect the borough’s diverse communities.
Just last week we confirmed that the Council will work with local people to rename Cassland Road Gardens, following a recommendation from our Community Steering Group - made up of local cultural historians, community leaders, young people and other residents - which is reviewing the naming of local landmarks, buildings, streets and public spaces. We believe that taking meaningful, community-led action is the best way to ensure our shared spaces are welcoming to all and reflect our diverse communities.
I note the Museum’s commitment using the statue to educate visitors about Geffrye’s past, and I would urge them to genuinely engage with the community - particularly our Community Steering Group - to take every step to ensure the measures they put in place do just that, and that this history becomes a key part of the learning that takes place at the Museum when it reopens.