Wimbledon private school to rename building with association to the slave trader

By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter

Following months of research, a private school in Wimbledon is looking to rename its sports hall due to an association with a slave trader.

Wimbledon High School will change the name of it’s Draxmont sports hall named after a member of the Drax family which owned slave plantations in the Americas.

There is also a road named Draxmont and a Drax Avenue in Wimbledon.

The school set up a research group to look into the history of the name and is now considering other options with senior pupils having the chance to put their ideas forward.

The group has come up with names of women who had strong sporting links to the school.

A statement from the school reads: “Since September 2020, students and staff at WHS have been undertaking painstaking research into the naming of Draxmont, the school sports hall and what we see as the vital importance of protecting legacies.

“In a social media age where positions are quickly taken and emotive terms such as ‘cancel culture’ and ‘culture wars’ are used, this has instead been a slow and measured response to the issue of having a building on site whose name carries a strong association with the slave trade.”

The school is now hoping to establish a policy for the naming of school buildings more widely.

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