Barclays drops ‘Buchanan’ name from River Clyde development over slavery links
Barclays has confirmed that it will drop the ‘Buchanan’ name from its major River Clyde development in Glasgow over concerns with its connection to the slave trade.
A district on the south bank of the River Clyde, where Barclays’ new northern European hub and more than 300 flats are being constructed, has previously been marketed as Buchanan Wharf.
More than 350 people have now signed a petition urging the name to be changed due to, tobacco merchant and former Lord Provost of Glasgow, Andrew Buchanan’s links to slavery.
A Barclays spokesman said that the development will now be known as the Barclays Glasgow Campus.
Glasgow City Council has also been notified of the change.
The petition had asked property developer Drum Property Group, which is developing the site, to stop the area from being named Buchanan Wharf.
It states: “Glasgow should not be glorifying the horrific barbarity of the slave trade and its slave masters by naming its new city centre riverside development Buchanan Wharf.”
A spokesman for the developer said names often change when occupiers take over a building, STV News reports.
He said: “Buchanan Wharf is now recognised throughout the world as an exciting new development in Glasgow, having been promoted via global campaigns and initiatives in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government and the UK Government Department of Industry & Trade.
“However, as the Buchanan Wharf site progresses, so will the names associated with the development change as occupiers take ownership of their own buildings and rename them accordingly. This is a natural evolution of any development process.
“In the meantime, we are fully supportive of the City of Glasgow’s commitment to widen both debate and education on the matter of the city’s merchant and slavery past and look forward to participating in the forthcoming programme of consultation.”
Drum Property Group did say the development had been named in honour of “one of Glasgow’s most well-known steamboat owners” Captain William Buchanan, not Andrew Buchanan, but acknowledged people would make the connection with the tobacco lord.
The spokesman said: “Many of Captain Buchanan’s pleasure boat steamers were docked at Bridge Wharf – the site of today’s Buchanan Wharf – before sailing ‘doon the watter’ to Greenock, Dunoon and the Isle of Bute.
“The steamers are a rich historical reference, with no association to slavery and represent a romantic and fundamental part of the city’s life on the Clyde.”
Barclays’ spokesperson said that the company “has a consistent naming convention for our key global sites”.
“In line with that practice, we took the decision last year that our new state-of-the-art facilities in Glasgow will be called the Barclays Glasgow Campus,” the spokesperson added.