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Naval college falls slave to wokery


I VISITED the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) at Greenwich on Sunday May 1. The ORNC offers a reduced entry fee, only £5, on the first Sunday of the month. The magnificent Painted Hall was restored a few years ago and I wanted to see it.

The restoration is superb, delicately and beautifully done, and certainly not over-restored. The staff are helpful and the building fabric well preserved. I winced, however, on reading a display in the Nelson Room, an informational display entitled ‘A National Celebrity’. Someone has added the phrase ‘from a slave-owning colonial family in Nevis’ to the description of Fanny Woolward, Horatio Nelson’s wife. I’d read about the absurd box-ticking which has infested our public sector but this was ridiculous. Were the Woolwards the only slave-owning family in the world at that time? I noted this on the feedback form the ORNC management emailed me:

‘My major gripe was the Nelson Room’s display “A National Celebrity”. Why on earth do you have to highlight that his wife Fanny was “from a slave-owning [colonial] family in Nevis”? What has slave ownership got to do with it? Have you celebrated the Royal Navy’s heroic campaign against slavery? Do you criticise other societies that practised the barbaric trade (and continued the evil trade for years, while the UK actually fought slavery?) How about a full exhibition on the horrors of slave trading, and the UK’s pioneering campaign against it?’

No reply so far . . .

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Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
Retired. Politics and life are serious, but best viewed with a sense of humour; and a major part of life is coping with failure.

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