Merton Council

Street names with historic links to the slave trade


Some roads in Merton have been named after individuals who have a historic link with the slave trade, either through their own actions or their families. This is the case with street names associated with the Burghley, Drax and Marryat families.

We are not proposing to change the names of any roads. For privately owned roads, we can only suggest actions that those residents may wish to take.

However, it is important to acknowledge this history and the impact these individuals’ actions have had, and continue to have, on our society. We would like to consult with residents of those roads, along with other interested individuals or groups, as to what would be the best way of marking this link. 

Summary of results: 

The London Borough of Merton will recognise the slavery links of some street names by placing QR codes on signs, allowing people to read a detailed background of the individual and/or family the streets were named after.

The approach was the preferred option of the majority of more than 800 residents who took part in the six-week long consultation which closed on 31 May.

The council will now create a detailed background on each affected street and provide a page on its website with the information so residents can easily find out more.

Merton Council – which had already ruled out changing street names for a range of reasons, including transparency, cost and the impact on emergency services – set out a range of potential options.

The majority of survey respondents – over 55% – supported recognising the links to slavery of some street names. Among these, the most popular option was for QR codes to be placed on street signs so that those interested could access further information about the individuals and families the streets were named after.

Street names associated with the Burghley, Drax and Marryat families are among those affected. The council is now carrying out further research before implementing the consultation’s recommendations, which aim to give a balanced approach, making the information available to those who are interested.


Consultation start date 14 April 2023
Consultation end date 31 May 2023

For more information about this engagement, please contact:

Consultation run by: Corporate Services
Mr Kris Witherington
Contact Numbers
Phone: 020 8545 3896