Engage is working with Merseyside Civic Society to refurbish the Grade II listed monument in Beetham Plaza, known officially as the Piazza Fountain but more generally as the Bucket Fountain. And we wanted to explore in more depth the connections with Liverpool’s history on involvement in the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved People.

We are pleased that for a long time now Laurence Westgaph has brought his walking tours to the site of the Piazza Fountain where they have stopped whilst he explains connections with the slave trade in Liverpool. The actual site today is not far from the original Goree Warehouses that were demolished at the end of World War II following extensive war damage and this square took its name from those buildings and was known as the Goree Piazza (which is still its name on Ordnance Survey maps) and delightfully the adjacent building was named Wilberforce House after the famous local abolitionist, which was the site of the City Council’s Planning Department. The name of the building was changed to Beetham Plaza after the developer who took over the building and square for redevelopment, but the square retained its original name. We know that the person responsible for suggesting these names was Fred Camenisch.

Also when the fountain was built it was constructed by the apprentices at Camell Laird shipyards in Birkenhead and they attached an African shield design to the monument explaining their involvement and the site’s connection to the original Goree Warehouses, which name of course linked Liverpool with the island off the coast of West Africa where the slave ships went to collect their human cargo.

Uncover LPLĀ  a website promoting Walking Tours of the city has as its second tour one by Laurence Westgaph entitled Liverpool Slavery Walking Tour. Clicking on the link there are as yet no tours advertised for this year.

There is some really interesting work being done by National Museums Liverpool based at the International Slavery Museum in the Merseyside Maritime Museum and led by Laurence Westgaph and the Liverpool Black History Research Group.

The Guardian has recently published an article about this issue called ‘‘Hidden in plain sight’: the European city tours of slavery and colonialism. 02.04.24 which sadly doesn’t mention the great work pioneered by Eric Scott Lynch and Laurence Westgaph here in Liverpool. We have an important story to tell and there are those now organising to tell it.

There is also a YouTube video by Laurence of a virtual tour in the city of sites connected with slavery which can be viewed HERE.

Engage has gathered together all the News items we have published over the years about the fountain on our dedicated Projects page HERE