Lloyd’s of London that owned slaves in Guyana apologises; pledges financial support to Black communities

Slave Ship – loading “cargo”

Two major British companies have acknowledged their historic ties to the slave trade and pledged new financial support to black and minority ethnic communities.

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, and pub chain Greene King said in statements late Wednesday that they would take steps to make their businesses more racially inclusive and provide financial support to black and minority ethnic groups.

The companies are highlighted in a University College London database exploring the legacies of British slave ownership. Companies with links to Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Barclays are also mentioned.       

Britain enslaved 3.1 million Africans between 1640 and 1807, transporting them to colonies around the world, according to Historic England, a public body. The database shows that the family of Simon Fraser, a founding subscriber of Lloyd’s of London, owned slaves on an estate in what is now Guyana.

“Lloyd’s has a long and rich history dating back over 330 years, but there are some aspects of our history that we are not proud of,” the company, which insured slave ships, said in a statement. “In particular, we are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the eighteenth and nineteenth Century slave trade. This was an appalling and shameful period of English history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred,” it added.

The company said it values an “inclusive culture” and has committed to a number of new diversity initiatives, including a program to attract and retain black and minority ethnic workers. It said it will review employee policies and the way it presents its history, and provide an undisclosed amount of money to organizations promoting opportunity for black and minority ethnic groups.

Greene King founder Benjamin Greene was compensated by the UK government when he relinquished slaves on his sugar cane plantations in the West Indies, according to University College London. The money he was paid would be worth nearly £3.6 million ($4.5 million) today, according to the university.

“It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s,” Greene King CEO, Nick Mackenzie said in a statement. “Today, I am proud that we employ 38,000 people across the UK from all backgrounds and that racism and discrimination have no place at Greene King,” he added.

Mackenzie said the chain, which was purchased last year by a company belonging to Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, plans to make a “substantial investment” to benefit the black and minority ethnic community, and support race diversity in its business. The Telegraph was first to report the news.

The University College London database also shows that individuals linked to firms later absorbed by Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Barclays received compensation for slaves.

“A lot has changed during the 300 year history of our brands and while we have much within our heritage to be proud of, we can’t be proud of it all,” a Lloyds Bank spokesperson said in a statement. “Like any institution that is so interwoven with our country’s history, we must acknowledge and learn from our past,” the spokesperson added.

Lloyds Bank said that in 2018 it committed to filling 10% of all positions and 8% of senior management roles with individuals from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background by the end of 2020.

RBS said in a statement that it has looked into its historic links with slavery “extensively” over the past 15 years, and opened its archives up to academics and historians to conduct their own research. The bank said it has set up a task force led by black and minority ethnic employees to look at what more it can do to tackle racial inequality, including financial contributions to black and minority ethnic groups.

Barclays acknowledged that its history “is being examined following recent events.”

“We can’t change what’s gone before us, only how we go forward. We are committed as a bank to do more to further foster our culture of inclusiveness, equality and diversity, for our colleagues, and the customers and clients we serve,” a spokesperson said.

Slave owners were compensated by the British Government after slavery was abolished, however slaves were left to fend for themselves with no compensation for their years of slavery.

Why the recent changes ?

Black Lives Matter protests have erupted across the United Kingdom in recent weeks after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a police officer in the United States. UK protesters tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol on June 7 and tossed it into a nearby river.

There have been calls to remove several other statues of historical figures who supported slavery and colonialism, and London mayor Sadiq Khan is reviewing the capital’s statues and street names with a view to remove any with links to slavery. Oxford University’s Oriel College said Wednesday that it wishes to remove a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes.

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  • kamtanblog  On 06/25/2020 at 3:45 am

    Never too late to say “sorry”
    Sometimes the hardest word !

    Compensation will not erase history
    But it will help to ease the pain.
    Rightful and Just !


  • the only  On 06/25/2020 at 12:24 pm


    • Kman  On 06/25/2020 at 2:44 pm

      They are forgotten. Like trump, churchill would have said, don’t know them, never heard of them. All non whites in lands ruled by whites, should stand up for their long delayed dues and rights

  • Clyde Duncan  On 06/26/2020 at 12:54 pm

    The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States [FULL Version]

    • Bernard  On 06/26/2020 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks Clyde;

      This a powerful and erudite exposition of systematic and ingrained racism and White Supremacy that is so deeply woven into the fabric of (the nasty duality that is) American society. Everyone should watch this poignant video!

      Hopefully, it is also the beginning of the end of this ugly injustice against black people. For too long supremacists have had an easy, free ride in a stolen land. That free ride is coming to an end. This is our time!

      As the saying goes, ‘ every dog has his day’. The man in Washington will soon find out that his is the last vestige of a perverted line of white privilege to sit in that the People’s House. The White House is a symbol of White Supremacy. It must be changed to The People’s House as soon as possible.


    • Bernard  On 06/26/2020 at 6:49 pm

      Mother Africa.

  • Wilfred  On 06/26/2020 at 1:16 pm

    It is very unfortunate, what happened over the pass 400yrs to Black people. Who are responsable for this? The British; The French; The Portuguese; The Spanish; and after you have found out the responsible people, what would one recommend ? These are troubling times and, true change will come only when we awake that sense of personal and shared responsibility and compassion for all. Without this, we would get into a chaotic condition, where people wouldn’t thrust each other.
    We need a peaceful platform to come up with plans now and not tomorrow because, we required since yesterday, what should be enforced.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 06/26/2020 at 11:09 pm

    Wilfred: No need to limit your accusation to a few – feel free to indict: Europeans

    The Romans were Europeans, and so on ….

    Thanks, Bernard – for the shout out.

    • kamtanblog  On 06/27/2020 at 3:18 am

      Slavery exists today.
      Slave wages in “sweat shops” arround the globe. Slaves are not neccessary “black”
      or “white” ….some grey some colourful !

      Romans used “slaves” to build their empires
      Egyptians used “slaves” to build theirs
      and so on…were slaves used to build
      British empire ? Yes yes yes !
      Is USA UK EU China Russia India
      using “slave labour” to maintain their
      empire and global influence

      Yes !

      Go google “slave” FMI

      Lord Kamtan UK

  • Chris  On 06/27/2020 at 12:50 am

    Keep up the BLM movement and the fight against systematic police brutality and a compliant, corrupt criminal justice system – including prosecutors and judges. There are now cracks in the armoury of injustice and a breach in the levees inhumanity all across America. Soon the dams will be busted wide open as the walls come crashing down.

    • kamtanblog  On 06/27/2020 at 5:23 am

      USA is heading (if not one already) for dictatorship !

      After. 2020 expect censorship !
      MSM then Social media

      I leave my smart phone home to avoid
      being “stalked”…take my grey cells with
      me in my travels.

      Kamtan uk

  • Clyde Duncan  On 06/27/2020 at 9:54 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On 06/27/2020 at 2:59 pm

    • Emanuel  On 06/27/2020 at 3:51 pm

      I think the fancy word to describe this moment in history is called “zeitgeist “. The institutions of hundreds of years of nasty racism and arrogant white self-imposed superiority over all other races are beginning to show cracks. Hallelujah!


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