School to re-name house named after Clive of India

Written by on July 9, 2020

Clive House at Haberdashers’ Adams’ Grammar School in Newport is named after Robert Clive, who became vastly wealthy when establishing British power in India.

It comes after calls for the Clive of India statue to be removed from The Square in Shrewsbury.

Several organisations have sought to distance themselves from historical figures linked to slavery in recent weeks.

Anti-racism protests across the country were sparked by the death of George Floyd, the black American who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Robert Clive is not directly connected with slavery, but the school said “nobody disputes that he behaved in ways that are now generally regarded as entirely unacceptable”.

The school received 830 responses to a consultation about re-naming the house.

In its conclusion statement, the school said: “Making explicit our revulsion at the actions of historical figures is one (amongst many) ways of reinforcing the message that racism has no place in our school or society.” The school said it would incorporate more black history into its curriculum in the future, and in choosing a new name said it would wish to identify local people who have made significant contributions to public life, and “whose achievements exceed their failings, preferably by a large margin”. The name will be changed next year.

The school’s other houses are Darwin, Talbot and Webb.

Clive served as MP and mayor for Shrewsbury, and at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, he and his forces defeated the Nawab of Bengal. It led to the East India Company controlling the region, before going on to dominate further areas.

Up to a third of the population died in the Bengal famine of 1770, while Clive returned to the UK.

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