Afua Hirsch has a piece in Guardian:
The trouble with the English, remarked Salman Rushdie in typically apt fashion, is that they don’t know their history, because so much of it happened overseas. And so the island status that motivated Britain’s imperial story in the first place has helped us distance ourselves from all aspects of that story.
Lost in all this are inconvenient facts too numerous to list in anything other than the most cursory way. There are the centuries of state-sanctioned criminal activity: the remarkable looting by supposed heroes such as Francis Drake, one of the most notorious pirates in history, and Robert Clive, who pillaged Bengal to great personal gain. There are the crimes against humanity: the innovation of concentration camps in the Boer war that inspired the Nazis, for example, and the cultural annihilation of kingdoms and palaces from Ashanti to Beijing.
It may be distasteful to some, but as long as the establishment continues to avoid acknowledging this history, it will flourish underground. That has consequences not just for people like me – Britons personally connected to the events we continue to ignore – it denies all of us an education about the most salient episode in our past. A museum is the least we could do.