Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls have said the name of 17th century merchant Robert Aske will be removed from their titles.
The two leading independent schools have decided on the name change after discovering their founder was a shareholder in a slave trading company, the Daily Mail reports.
The paper also says the schools will abandon the motto “Serve and obey” which will be replaced by “Together, Boundless”.
The Hertfordshire schools announced in March that they would be consulting on the change after finding out that Robert Aske invested in the Royal African Company, which was involved in the shipping of thousands of slaves.
In a letter to former pupils yesterday, the Mail reports that the heads of the schools wrote: “Many feel that, regardless of its size, Aske’s investment was offensive, unacceptable and at odds with our beliefs and values today.
“Others feel strongly that through his legacy Robert Aske benefited generations of children, that historic acts should be viewed in the context of their time and that changing names could be perceived as tokenistic or an attempt to deny history.
“At an individual school level, we will no longer use the Aske name.”
It concluded that the “legal and collective name of the schools should retain the Aske name”.
From the beginning of term, new branding and signage will be in place for the renamed schools – Haberdashers’ Boys’ School and the Haberdashers’ Girls’ School – after staff unanimously supported the modernisation of the brand, The Evening Standard reports.
A school spokesperson told the Standard: “A new brand identity was unveiled at the beginning of term.
“Schools will be known collectively as the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Schools, and individually the Haberdashers’ Boys’ School and the Haberdashers’ Girls’ School, or more simply Habs Boys and Habs Girls.”
Several other schools around the London area have Haberdashers’ Aske’s in their titles, but they are not thought to be planning similar name changes, the Mail says.
The move comes as numerous British institutions, including schools, contemplated name changes after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.
Notably, Colston Girls’ School in Bristol, which was named after the slave-trader Edward Colston, has changed its name to Montpelier High School following a consultation.