Remove the statue of Thomas Guy, profiteer from slavery, from Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital

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To the Principal and Management Team of King’s College London, the Board of Directors of Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and the Directors of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity fine art and heritage collection.

We, the undersigned, call for the removal of the statue of Thomas Guy from the site of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital, and an acknowledgement that this institution was founded with profits derived from the slave trade.  Guy became wealthy primarily from investment in the South Sea Company which was formed to supply slaves to Spanish plantations in Central and South America.

The hospital is an undeniable force for good, but there needs to be openness about the fact that Guy’s philanthropy was enabled by terrible suffering and exploitation and he should not be celebrated unquestioningly.  Difficult histories need to be explored, and not erased. This is vital in any context, but perhaps particularly so on the site of an NHS hospital that has relied so heavily on the hard work of individuals who came to the UK from parts of the former British empire.  We cannot move forward as a society unless we acknowledge the wrongs of the past, as part of the efforts needed to address continuing and systemic inequality and injustice in the present.