Powis Gateway plaque marks slavery legacy

ABERDEEN City Council and the University of Aberdeen have erected a plaque at the Powis Gateway in Old Aberdeen.

The sign is part of the council’s commemorative plaques scheme to highlight the legacy of slavery in the North-East.

The gateway, now owned by the university, was built by the Leslie family, which received compensation when slavery was abolished in Britain’s Caribbean colonies in 1834.

Vanessa Mabonso Nzolo, president of university’s student union, said: “We consider this plaque as a puzzle piece to understand our university; as a piece of valuable evidence to help us trace and navigate the academic practices, culture, and knowledge that are embedded in the history of empire.

“The plaque invites us to engage in conversations of the legacy of empire in the university today.

“It gives us an opportunity to link the anti-racist and decolonial resistance in our community in 2022 to hundred years back as something that haunts us to this day.”

Richard Anderson, who was appointed lecturer in the history of slavery in 2020, added: “Powis Gateway is the most tangible link between the University of Aberdeen and slavery-derived wealth.

“It is important that this history is reflected more clearly so that all those who pass through the gates can better understand their legacy and the erection of this plaque is one step in this work.

“We recognise that much more is still required both in contextualising the history of the Powis Gateway, understanding and addressing the benefits which still exist today which were built on wealth from slavery and in decolonising our curriculum.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s news pages.

Plus, don’t miss October’s luxury issue of Scottish Field magazine.

Powis Gateway and plaque