Lawrence Goldman

Lawrence Goldman is Emeritus Fellow of St. Peter’s College, Oxford. He was the Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography between 2004 and 2014

Gladstone, the BBC and the contempt for national history

A BBC news story this week about members of the Gladstone family visiting Guyana to apologise for their ancestral links to slavery in the Caribbean has all the historical errors and elisions we have become used to in reports and investigations on the subject of slavery. The authors do not appear to know the difference

The trouble with Tate Britain

Tate Britain has had a facelift. The gallery describes its ‘rehang’, unveiled in May, as a chance for visitors to ‘discover over 800 works by over 350 artists spanning six centuries’. Unfortunately, Tate Britain’s painful historical sensitivity – and its selective amnesia – make it difficult to enjoy the artwork. The gallery’s Room 6, ‘Revolution

The problem with Cambridge University’s slavery report

It’s perfectly legitimate for Cambridge University to seek to understand its history, warts and all. But the University’s final report of its ‘Legacies of Enslavement Advisory Group’, established in 2019 to investigate the university’s historic links with slavery, is short on facts and long on opinions. It also fails to consider Cambridge’s links with the noble cause of

Has Jesus College learned anything from its Rustat defeat?

When Jesus College in the University of Cambridge set up a committee looking for ‘legacies of slavery’, they found what appeared to be the perfect culprit: Tobias Rustat. A cavalier and courtier, Rustat made benefactions to the university library and Jesus College. Important enough to merit an article in the ‘Dictionary of National Biography’, Rustat