Slavery and the City: Episode two: London’s Guildhall and the Zong massacre

Research output: Non-textual outputDigital or Visual Products


In the summer of 2020, the death of George Floyd during an arrest by police shocked the world. Triggering a surge of Black Lives Matter protests around the world, the sense of injustice surrounding Floyd’s murder also led to many previously overlooked buildings and statues being called into question as institutions, and corporations were held to account for their links with the slave trade.

This series of the Open City Podcast confronts the City of London’s historical links with the transatlantic slave trade by focussing on three key buildings: The Grade I-listed Royal Exchange, the ancient Guildhall which serves as the administrative centre of the Square Mile today, and the Jamaica Wine House on St Michael's Alley.

The three-part series asks whether people in Britain can ever truly reckon with the history of the slave trade, what role our cities and architecture play in Britain’s cultural and historical identity, and what can be done about it now.

The host, Selasi Setufe, explores the ramifications of racism, colonialism, empire and slavery, and analyses how this became embodied in the architecture of the City and beyond. Hearing from academics, campaigners and practitioners, this series sets out a deeper understanding of the role architecture plays not only in Britain’s history, but also our contemporary understanding of racial inequalities and injustices in the city today.

The second episode of this series, through an analysis of London’s Guildhall in relation to the Zong massacre explores collective amnesia, how society processes guilt with regards to our colonial past, how we can move forward, and what role - if any - does our city’s architecture play in this.

This episode includes contributions by academic Anita Rupprecht from the University of Brighton, specialising in interconnected histories and representations of British transatlantic slavery, and Dalia Gebrial, a Rhodes must fall campaigner and PhD student of race, work & digital economy.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Size45 mins
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2022


  • transatlantic slave trade
  • London
  • Zong
  • Guildhall
  • memory
  • abolitionism


Dive into the research topics of 'Slavery and the City: Episode two: London’s Guildhall and the Zong massacre'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this