A FORMER Merton councillor is calling on the council to rename streets named after slave owners in line with Black History Month. 

Peter Walker, former Merton Labour Councillor 2010-2016, says the council should compile a report to eradicate the names of "notorious" slave owners from Merton's streets.

In a letter addressed to Merton Council on July 21, Mr Walker highlighted Marryat Road SW19, Marryat Place SW19, Drax Avenue SW20, and Draxmont Road SW19.

He reported that both Marryat Road and Marryat Place are named after Joseph Marryat MP (1757-1824), who owned a "large number of slaves".

University College London (UCL) 'Legacies of British Slave-ownership' research project, reported Marryat as an "important figure" in the West Indians defence of slavery in both Parliament and through the West India Committee.

Wimbledon Times: Draxmont RoadDraxmont Road

Two more names reported to Merton Council were, Drax Avenue and Draxmont Road, named after slave owner, John Sawbridge-Earle-Drax MP (1800 – 1887). 

UCL's database reported that John Sawbridge Erle-Drax, was awarded £4,293 12s 6d - worth £3m today - for 189 slaves.

Despite asking Merton Council to review the names back in July, Mr Walker says he has received no updates.

He said: "In light of the Council’s expressed wish to ‘honour George Floyd and the many others who have lost their lives in similar circumstances’ it seems deeply offensive, that today we actually have roads in the borough commemorating some of Wimbledon’s most notorious slave owners.

“I do not believe, that when a third of Merton’s population classify themselves as BAME, and 17,776 local residents claim African heritage, that we should allow these two slave owners, to be so venerated."

Wimbledon Times:

A spokesperson from Merton Council said: “We are aware of the important concerns around roads and places commemorating slave and plantation owners, which have been highlighted by the Black Lives Matter campaign. 

"Like many authorities across the country, we are considering the impact of some of our road names. 

"The council is proud of its long-term work to tackle racism and intolerance and so it is vital that Merton as a place reflects this. Once we have fully considered all the issues involved we will make our response.

"The Council is committed to supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign, and took some immediate steps to demonstrate this.

"The Council is determined to take further practical steps to reduce inequalities, and to continue the fight against racism both within the council itself and in the communities we serve. 

"We want to move forward based on an understanding of the issues that affect residents, and to engage them fully in the steps we should take.”