4 July 2020
Signatures: 294Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

You may not have realised that this prominent street through Edinburgh’s New Town is named after Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville (1742-1811) and you’d think that to have a street named after him and a statue to honour him (Melville Monument, St Andrew’s Square) that he must have been someone we should look up to. The truth is, this man played a role in delaying the end of the UK’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade. I need not tell you more. For this reason and for this reason alone, he should not be admired. We, as a community should look for more positivity in our city and its history and so I ask you to stand together in signing this petition.

I believe that Dundas Street should no longer be named as such because this beautiful, busy and historic street in Edinburgh should not be associated with all the wrongdoings of this man, his name and the legacy in which he has left behind. His amendment of Wilberforce’s 1792 act of abolition denied the freedom of 630,000 individuals who were stolen from West Africa, stolen from their families and loved ones, never to return. Imagine that was you, how would you feel?

We are now in times where we have the information of the past at our fingertips, enabling us to learn and understand that these events were, by all accounts completely inhumane and by today’s standards lawfully wrong. We also now have the voices to stand up for what is right and act in memory of those that were deprived of their freedom. It is important that we educate the future generations of these particular historic events.

On the basis of the aforementioned, I would like to propose that Dundas Street be renamed Emancipation Street. The word emancipation speaks volumes to the subject at hand. To me, emancipation is freedom and this is what these innocent people did not have - Dundas took this from them.

For me, as a descendant of those enslaved, I feel that making this small gesture, in respect of the lives of those individuals, will have a profound impact.

I imagine that when I walk down the proposed ‘Emancipation Street’ I will remember that I, alongside many others fought for this street name to be changed in the correct manner and with good reason. Freedom can mean many things to many people, but what is a life without freedom?

I invite you to take a moment to think about these people, their existence was completely changed forever. Consider how life would have been for them.

Emancipation Street, for the victims and for our future generations.

Together, we can make a change.

Reference: Historic Environment Scotland website -
Profile Images: Innes Graham -

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Signatures: 294Next Goal: 500
Support now


  • The Scottish Parliament
  • Adam McVey - Leader of Edinburgh City CouncilLeader of Edinburgh City Council, SNP Councillor for Leith
  • Edinburgh City Council