Notting Hill pub removes slave auction poster after accusations of racism

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Racist propaganda': the Stewart Arms in Notting Hill caused outrage over its display of a slave auction notice
'Racist propaganda': the Stewart Arms in Notting Hill caused outrage over its display of a slave auction notice

Related tags: Social media, Facebook

The Stewart Arms faced a backlash from social media users imploring punters to boycott the pub and submit negative reviews over its displaying of a slave auction poster.

The poster, a slave auction notice from July 1820, displays the names of five men and women alongside their skills and approximate age, as well as eight further names of men and women to be let as ‘house servants' and ‘labourers’.

The names include that of a 14-year-old ‘house servant’ and a 40-year-old man described as an ‘excellent fisherman’.

Manager John Connelly, 55, told the MailOnline that the poster, which had been on display for more than 20 years previously, has been removed after it sparked outrage, with social media users flooding the Stewart Arms’ Facebook page with negative reviews after a picture was uploaded to Twitter.

In Facebook posts seen by The Morning Advertiser​, users condemned the pub, stating that “the kidnapping, torture, rape, violation of human rights on millions of people have been glamourised and used as décor”, that the pub should be reported for “incitement of racial hatred”, and that the pub had displayed “racist propaganda”.

Connelly told the MailOnline “It's an old print of years gone by and nobody's ever taken offence to it before, but it has now been removed.

“It's one of these things that nobody ever thought would upset anyone.

“When pubs go through a refurbishment bric-a-brac tends to be put on the walls - a lot of it relating to certain historical times.

“It was put up God knows when and regular customers have definitely not taken offence to it in the past. It has been removed and it will not go up again.

“It's a very favourable pub and we've got a very mixed clientele. It was one person who complained - a chap and his girl who I didn't recognise who came in on Friday night.

“The poster was on the wall by the pool table and they obviously took umbrage to it.

“They made a comment to one of the staff and walked out because of it.

“It has been removed and we had no intention of upsetting anyone. It's been there for so long. It came down the following morning straight away.

“When you're in a pub sometimes you don't notice what memorabilia is on the wall because it's quite big.”

At the time of writing 140 of the 164 reviews of the Stewart Arms on their Facebook page rated the pub as ‘1 star’. The pub’s average star rating on Facebook stood at 1.5 out of five at the time of writing after users angered by the poster took to the pub's page.

Customers come to pub's defence

However, several customers have also submitted reviews in defence of the Notting Hill pub.

In Facebook posts seen by The Morning Advertiser​, defences of the Stewart Arms include: “they would absolutely welcome everyone with open arms. One of the greatest and most friendly pubs around Notting Hill” and “I have been using this pub for years. It is one of the friendliest most multi-cultural pubs I’ve ever known.” One user questioned whether any of the negative reviewers had “even set foot in the pub”.

Again, speaking to the MailOnline, Connelly added: “'I've only been here for two months, the people who own this building have had the lease for 10 years.

“Pubs in the city have stuff like that on the walls and no one says anything. We're either going to put something else up or leave it blank.

“No one had mentioned it before, it's just keyboard warriors and it's completely over the top.

“Technology is great but it's got way out of hand, way beyond anything.”

Related topics: Legislation

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