The Hyndman Centre is becoming The Thomas Clarkson Centre.
The community centre run by St Mary’s and St Peter’s churches serves the people of our town. We love to see the rooms full of gatherings – lunches and teas for those who may live more isolated lives, classes and groups for children, young people and adults, safe meetings for support for people who have problems with drugs, alcohol or harmful behaviours, training courses and more. It’s a way of making a difference in Bury St Edmunds and something we’re really proud of.
We recently learned that the wealth of the Hyndman family, who had no connection with our town or our churches, was derived from their participation in slavery and the trade in enslaved people. We decided that we no longer wished to memorialise the Hyndman name and that we needed to find a better identity — something that fitted with our vision for welcoming all people and seeing their lives improved. We didn’t have to look far.
Thomas Clarkson lived in Bury St Edmunds and he was a leading figure in the campaign to abolish the trade in enslaved people. He was a committed Christian whose research and writings supported the work of William Wilberforce and the wider abolition movement. His work was putting Christian faith into action, transforming the lives of many people. It’s a fitting way of giving a new identity to our precious community buildings and it will give us a brilliant opportunity to tell the story of how Christ changes lives.