Lily Allen slams TfL staff for ‘celebrating colonialism’ on London Tube station board

Transport for London workers were accused of “celebrating colonialism” on a Tube station notice board in footage shared by singer Lily Allen.




The message, posted on one of TfL’s service information boards in north-east London, detailed the British and colonial troops’ defence of Rorke’s Drift in South Africa in 1879.

The LDN singer, 32, shared footage of a member of staff at Dollis Hill station rubbing off the notice on Tuesday.


In the footage, a woman’s voice can be heard saying: “That [the notice board] is supposed to be for uplifting comments, not for celebrating colonialism, so I’m glad you’re wiping it off.”

TfL has since apologised to those who were offended by the message, saying the message was “clearly ill-judged”.




A spokesman for the transport body said: “We apologise to any customers who were offended by the message on the whiteboard at Dollis Hill today.

“Our staff across the network share messages on these boards, but in this instance the message was clearly ill-judged. We are speaking with our staff to remind them of what is and isn’t acceptable.”

Lily Allen: The singer shared the video with her Twitter followers (PA)

The footage was viewed more than 11,000 times in less than an hour after the musician shared it with her 5.94million Twitter followers. The tweet was later deleted.

The message read: “On this day in history: On the 22-23 of January 1879 in natal South Africa, a small British garrison named Rorke’s Drift was attack [sic] by 4,000 Zulu warriors.

“The garrison was successfully defended by just over 150 British and colonial troops. Following the battle, eleven men were awarded the Victoria Cross.”




Alongside the footage of the member of TfL staff rubbing off the notice, Miss Allen wrote: “too right”.

While some condemned the message on the board, others argued that Tube staff had simply written an account of history.

Responding to the singer’s tweet, Twitter user Russell Turner wrote: “Get over yourself……that wasn’t celebrating anything just relaying factual history.

Some argued that the message celebrates colonialism (Lily Allen/Twitter)

“Also that serves as a great metaphor….you would like to see history erased and never discused [sic], educate…don’t deny.”

Another commenter sarcastically replied: “Disgusting. Mentioning history like it really happened.”

It was not immediately clear if the person who wrote the notice was the man who was filmed rubbing it off.

Rorke’s Drift was a mission station and the former trading post of James Rorke, an Irish merchant.




More than 150 British and colonial troops defended the garrison against an assault by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors.

Eleven Victoria Crosses, along with a number of other decorations and honours, were awarded to those who defended it successfully.

The Zulu’s attack on Rorke’s Drift came after the British invaded the area in January 1879. Rorke’s Drift was being used by the the British for a depot and hospital during the invasion.

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