Monday, March 10, 2008

Gladstone's birthplace

We stayed on for another day in Liverpool to see at least some of the sights of the European Capital of Culture.

Liverpool has an air of grandeur, as befits what was a major city of empire. As is well-known, much of the city's economic power was built on the slave trade. Among those who profited from slavery was John Gladstone, father of Liberal prime minister William Gladstone. Gladstone pere was Liverpool merchant, who owned slaves on his plantations in the West Indies. Perhaps as a result of this, Gladstone always had something of a blind-spot about slavery, being less whole-hearted than one might expect in his condemnation of it.

William Gladstone was born at 62 Rodney Street, Liverpool, which consists of very grand Georgian terraces. The street was also the birthplace of the poet Arthur Hugh Clough and I see that there is a campaign under way to restore it to its former glory.

This year's conferences take us to places that mark both ends of Gladstone's life. At Bournemouth in September, those want to take a little time off from debates can visit the splendid St Peter's church where Gladstone took his last communion - there is a plaque in the church to mark this although no reference it would seem on the website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the most boring blog in Britain. Have you not got anything betyter to do than publish your sad little ramblings you pointless little man?