GLASGOW must finally recognise its “horrific role” in the slave trade with a permanent memorial, according to campaigners.


The call came after Bristol music venue Colston Hall agreed to drop the name it shares with 17th century merchant Edward Colston, a former MP who made huge profits from slavery. The group, Massive Attack, who come from the city, have refused to play the venue until the name is changed.


Glasgow has historic links to the slave trade, with several streets and city landmarks bearing the names of wealthy Scots tobacco lords and the places they profited from.


Andrew Buchanan, John Glassford, Archibald Ingram and James Dunlop are all recognised, while Virginia, Jamaica, Tobago and Antigua streets recall the locations of their estates and trading partners.


Some 31 slave ships sailed from Scottish ports between 1717 and 1766 and Scots, at one point, ran a third of the slave plantations in Jamaica.


Zandra Yeaman of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights said: “Glasgow benefited hugely from the profits of the slave trade. The naming of streets such as Buchanan Street, Virginia Street and Glassford Street are testament to this." She added that the organisation does not support calls for changing these street names. “Such changes would allow the city to continue to play down and hide its horrific role in the enslavement of Africans.


“Glasgow’s activity and complicity in slavery was the basis of the city’s economic growth, and the legacy of slavery continues into present day racism in Scotland. Rather, we call for the truth of how these families and the city built their riches to be better known – riches built on the back of chattel slavery. The truth of how through their acts of racial oppression they became the powerful elite in Glasgow would serve the city better." She added: “We think it would be more appropriate if the next city administration committed itself to establish a permanent and prominent display on the streets of Glasgow telling the historical facts about where these names came from and how the tobacco barons really made their fortunes, and to ensure that this history is better taught in Glasgow’s schools.”


Scottish Greens councillor Nina Baker previously called for a “symbolic renaming of selected streets” in Glasgow to mark Anti-Slavery Day in October.


She said: “It would be a big ask to rename streets permanently, because there are a lot of city centre businesses who would be disadvantaged, but renaming the Kingston Bridge, for example, may be easier, if there was enough pressure. I hope something will come of it after the election because it’s important to make people aware of our dark history. Another way we could do that would be to add information to street signs, for example a line explaining who the street was named after and why. I think that would be a powerful message.”


A spokeswoman for the SNP’s campaign group in Glasgow committed to a consultation if the party seizes control of the council. She said: “The SNP group believes that Glaswegians of all generations – whether they have been born in the city or come here by another route – have the right to know and understand their true history and its human consequences.”


A spokesman for Glasgow Life, the council’s culture and sport arm, said that it continues to encourage citizens and visitors to engage with and understand the consequences of Glasgow’s links to the slave trade – “how they shaped our modern city, and their relevance to its future”.