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Cambridge University college removes bell over slavery links

The Demerara Bell has been hidden from public view while an investigation into its origins is carried out

Cambridge University has removed a bell from St Catharine’s College over its suspected links to the slave trade.

The Demerara Bell was donated to the college in 1960 by former student Edward Goodland, The Telegraph reported.

After spending a few years in what was then known as British Guiana, now Guyana, Goodland, who worked as the technical director at Bookers Sugar Estates, gave the bell to St Catharine’s College.

During the colonial era, the British owned and operated sugar plantations in the country.

The bell’s removal comes after the university announced it was launching a two-year investigation into its links with the slave trade.

Concerns were raised over the bell’s connections to slavery. The Telegraph has reported that it is “most likely” the artifact that came from a slave plantation.

For now, the bell remains in place but has been hidden from view until its origins can be examined.

“As part of the ongoing reflection taking place about the links between universities and slavery, we are aware that a bell currently located at the College most likely came from a slave plantation,” The Telegraph reported a spokesperson for St Catharine’s College said.

They added; “A more detailed investigation is under way into the bell’s provenance as part of a wider project researching the College’s historical links to the slave trade.”

An eight-member advisory group has been tasked with coming up with recommendations on how Cambridge University can publicly acknowledge its slavery links.

The researcher’s findings are expected to be published in autumn 2021.

In 2018, Glasgow University revealed that it was launching a “restorative justice programme” to address its historic acceptance of donations, estimated to have a value of around £198 million, that were linked to profits from the slave trade.

This article originally appeared in The Voice.

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