Previous letters to this paper say that our history is being ‘attacked’ and ‘trashed’. They say ‘colonialism was not all bad’ and that the abolition of slavery is ‘perhaps our greatest contribution to human progress’.

I agree we should be proud of those who worked hard to abolish the slave trade and then slavery itself across the British Empire. But the achievement of British abolitionists was only so good because British slavery was so bad, and our ancestors in this area did make a lot of money out of it.

Testimony to that are the fine Georgian terraces and warehouses of Liverpool, Lancaster (with its memorial to slave trader Rawlinson) and even Ulverston, where the canal could not have been built without slave trade profits. 150,000 slaves were carried by Ulverston ships between 1750 and 1807. British government reparations to the slave owners after 1833 cost £300bn in today’s money and remarkably the full debt was not paid off until 2015. No reparations at all have yet been paid to the descendants of the 12m African slaves taken to America.

So it is an uncomfortable history, most of which we often ignore. Of course we personally, as white British people living today, are not to blame, but many of us have indirectly benefited from that suffering. The profits of slavery gave a boost to the industrial revolution, and have given us a better standard of living than we might otherwise have had. Black or white, we all still suffer from the racism that was invented and used to justify that suffering. As with the Holocaust, it is easier to brutalise and exploit people if you convince yourself they are inferior to you.

Sir Francis Drake's statue was mentioned. Let’s not forget his role in defeating the Spanish Armada, but equally let’s remember that he went with Sir John Hawkins on the first British slaving expedition in West Africa in 1567.

Ian McHugh