Exclusive: Everton to acknowledge Bramley-Moore Dock’s history of slavery at new stadium site

An image of what Everton’s new stadium will look like. Image: EvertonFC/YouTube

Everton Football Club is to acknowledge the history of slavery at Bramley-Moore Dock with a lasting memorial on the site of the club’s new stadium, LiverpoolWorld has learned.

One possibility is acknowledgement within the historic hydraulic tower on the dock, which Everton will be turning into a visitor centre.

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An Everton source also told LiverpoolWorld that: The site will not be called the Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium, it is going to be named something else.

“What happened across Liverpool in terms of slavery should not be airbrushed out of the city. It is a huge part of our history and we have to face up to that.

“You only have to look around the docks, the neoclassical and the Georgian buildings around the city to see that.

“There is an absolute desire from Everton to ensure what happened is commemorated in some form, whether that’s a plaque or in the hydraulic tower at the docks which will be a visitor centre.”

History

John Bramley-Moore, who the dock is named after, was Liverpool Lord Mayor in 1848 and was later elected as an MP, he was also a slave owner and merchant trading in sugar and coffee from the plantations in Brazil.

In the 1820s alone, slave traders forcibly trafficked over half a million Africans to Brazil to work as slaves on plantations and other areas.

The news coincides with a series of events over three days starting on Saturday to commemorate Slavery Remembrance Day, marked on 23 August in Liverpool since 1999, acknowledging the city’s role as the European capital of the transatlantic slave trade.

National Museums Liverpool Historian in Residence Lawrence Westgaph said: “It’s really positive that Everton will be highlighting the links of Liverpool and the history of slavery.

“Football hasn’t had the best history with incidents of racism. Things aren’t perfect but it has come a long way since those dark days. It is absolutely fantastic to hear this news from Everton."

Joe Mulhern is a historian of 19th-century Anglo-Brazilian relations and an honorary fellow of Durham University’s Department of History.

He wrote about Bramley-Moore’s connection with slavery and the new Everton stadium site for the London School of Economics earlier this year and is due to have a book, British Entanglement with Brazilian Slavery: Masters in Another Empire c. 1822 – 1888, published by Anthem Press in 2023 which will feature the history of Bramley-Moore.

Dr Mulhern told LiverpoolWorld : “I welcome the announcement made by Everton to contextualise the site’s connection to the slave trade and slavery in Brazil.

“I hope it will lead to more awareness to the city’s connections to slavery including those, as in the case of Bramley-Moore, which lasted long beyond the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1833.”

The stadium

Everton broke ground at the Bramley-Moore site last week to mark construction of a new £500m stadium.

The club said Everton’s new stadium project is recognised as the largest single-site private sector development in the country which will contribute an estimated £1.3 billion to the UK economy, creating more than 15,000 jobs and attracting 1.4 million visitors to the city of Liverpool.