A PETITION has been launched to rename Gladstone's Library in Hawarden due to the family's links to the slave trade.

Local activist Ciara Lamb says the historic library's name ''glorifies'' the former prime minister despite the fact his family, including his father John Gladstone, was ''one of the largest slave-owning families in the country.''

It follows news on Wednesday that William Gladstone's statue, itself positioned in the grounds of the library, has been placed on a list of monuments anti-racism activists want taking down following the toppling of known slave-trader Edward Colston's statue in Bristol.

The library was formerly known as St Deiniol's Library, but changed in 2010 to be named after the four-time prime minister whose political career spanned from the mid 1850s to the late 1890s.

Ms Lamb, who launched a petition to change the library's name, says "a symbol of such oppression is not what our village supports" and changing it would be a sign of progress which the community ''so desires.''

Library warden Peter Francis said in response to the petition: "We are fully behind the Black Lives Matter movement and actively want to support it any way we can - we don't want to be passive and offer token gestures.

"And if William Gladstone was alive today I am sure he'd support the movement, too.

"Hawarden is very much a white area, and the library is one of the most diverse places in the village as we get people of all races from all parts of the globe visiting us.

"We opened an Islamic reading room a few years ago to further encourage diversity and would be more than willing to publish more on the Gladstone family's past."

Mr Francis says there is the potential of a plaque being placed on the statue and the library detailing the Gladstone family's links to the slave trade.

He said it is ''undeniable'' that, during the early 19th century, Gladstone's father owned land in the West Indies and South America that used slave labour.

While John Gladstone received £106,769 in compensation when slavery was abolished, Mr Francis said William Gladstone himself received nothing.

Ms Lamb says that William Gladstone's first address as Prime Minister in the House of Commons argued the slave-holders' case in the abolition of slavery debate.

Mr Francis and Charlie Gladstone said in a statement on Wednesday: "In 1831, William did speak in the Commons in favour of compensation for slave owners.

"It was his first speech in the Commons and he was still in thrall to his father. Once William found himself amongst liberal thinkers, he drastically changed his beliefs and distanced himself totally from that of his father.

"William was anti-colonial and the passing of the Secret Ballot Act under his premiership was one of the most important democratic processes this country has ever undergone."

They said William Gladstone's liberal politics and values were "strikingly different" to that of his Tory father's.

They added that by 1850 Gladstone was "a changed man" and described slavery as "by far the foulest crime that taints the history of mankind in any Christian or pagan country.”