The statue to Guy’s Hospital founder, Thomas Guy, will be removed over his profiteering from the slave trade.
A statue to Guy stands in the Guy’s campus of King’s College London, next to the hospital he founded with a fortune he made largely from shares in a slave-trading company.
Another statue to Sir Robert Clayton, which stands outside St Thomas’ Hospital, will also be removed.
Clayton was a member of the Royal African Company, which shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other insitition during the Atlantic slave trade.
In a joint statement at around 8pm, King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust said it had a duty to address the legacy of colonialism and slavery.
“We absolutely recognise the public hurt and anger that is generated by the symbolism of public statues of historical figures associated with the slave trade in some way,” it said.
“We have therefore decided to remove statues of Robert Clayton and Thomas Guy from public view, and we look forward to engaging with and receiving guidance from the Mayor of London’s Commission on each.”
On Tuesday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a commission to review London landmarks over their links to slavery, pushing for those with clear links to be renamed or removed.
However, the hospital said it would not be dropping the name of ‘Guy’s Hospital’, despite removing their founder’s statue.
A petition, signed by thousands, had called for the hospital to be renamed.
“We see the pervasive and harmful effects of structural racism every day through our work,” added the statement.
“Black people have worse health outcomes, and this inequality is one of many ways racism permeates our society.
“We are fully committed to tackling racism, discrimination and inequality, and we stand in solidarity with our patients, students, colleagues and communities.”
The removal is expected to take several weeks due to the sizes of the statues, the Trust added.
It comes after Black Lives Matters protesters dramatically tore down a statue to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, and dumped it into the docks.