Tearing down statues and renaming places is all the rage. But acting in this way isn’t always a mistake. Take Clive House, at my old school, Merchant Taylors’, which was, until this month, named after Robert Clive, conqueror of Bengal, hero of Plassey and my school’s most famous former pupil (asides from Michael
Mcintyre). Now it will be known as Raphael House, after John Raphael, a former pupil who died fighting in Flanders.
Is this part of the worrying trend of ahistorical, post-BLM iconoclasm that dunked Colston in the Avon, graffitied Winston Churchill and renamed Birmingham’s streets after HR buzzwords? I'm not convinced – and not only because of what Clive got up to after he left Merchant Taylors’.
Robert Clive was one of Merchant Taylors’ worst ever pupils, which is remarkable for a school that also expelled Titus Oates.