AN inquiry launched amid calls elsewhere in the country to tear down racist statues has concluded one of Kidderminster's most famous sons was "not involved in any exploitation of native peoples in Australia".

Kidderminster Town Council sought the opinions of local historians about the actions of the town's own Sir Rowland Hill - whose statue stands outside the town hall - specifically during the colonisation of South Australia during the 1830s.

The council moved to consider Sir Rowland's work on the emigration plans after a social media post questioning Hill's links to colonisation prompted members of the public to raise concerns that the statue would be torn down.

Evesham Journal: The statue of Sir Rowland Hill outside Kidderminster Town HallThe statue of Sir Rowland Hill outside Kidderminster Town Hall

It came after a statue of the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol was toppled in June, giving rise to calls elsewhere in the country for memorials to be reviewed.

Kidderminster Town Council consulted with the local Heritage Opportunities Group, which analysed Hill's biography, and a report was made to the Events and Services Committee last week.

The report summarised: "As far as our research shows, Sir Rowland Hill was not involved in any exploitation of native peoples in Australia.

"His motives appear genuine over the three years in which he was involved in providing humane and successful emigration and settlement to South Australia - 1836 to 1839.

"Problems did develop between the Adelaide settlers and the aboriginal peoples in the 1840s, but these had nothing to do with Hill who was by then deeply involved in postal reform in the United Kingdom."

A spokesman for the town council said: "The committee considered this issue at its meeting last week. We sought an opinion from our local historians and ... as far as our research shows, Sir Rowland Hill was not involved in any exploitation of native peoples in Australia."

They added: "The council is proud of Rowland Hill and his association with the town."

Hill's revolutionary idea of a standardised, national, postal service affordable by all, whereby a letter could be sent anywhere in Britain with a 1d postage stamp attached, was introduced in 1840.

Evesham Journal: A plaque unveiled in Blackwell Street in 2016 honouring Kidderminster's own Sir Rowland Hill. Photo by Colin HillA plaque unveiled in Blackwell Street in 2016 honouring Kidderminster's own Sir Rowland Hill. Photo by Colin Hill

The famous Penny Black stamp, although only in use for some seven months, is one of the most famous objects in our history.

In the year of his death in 1879, 1,293 million letters were sent compared with just 72 million in 1839. Hill had prevented poverty from keeping people apart.

He was knighted in 1860, and on his death was given the honour of being buried next to famous engineer, Sir James Watt.

In 2016, a blue plaque was unveiled in Blackwell Street where Sir Rowland Hill was born in what was his grandfather’s house.

The plaque was erected by the Heritage Opportunities Group as a lasting legacy of the Rowland Hill Penny Post 175 project.