"With the ending of the London monopoly of trade with Africa in 1698, there began a period when Bristol slowly asserted itself as the chief slave trade port of Britain. From a position of only two or three voyages a year, the trade grew to ten voyages annually by 1707, twenty-seven voyages in 1717 and forty-eight voyages in 1725. There are six hundred known slave voyages which departed from Bristol in those three decades up to 1730". Peter Taylor looks at how small shipments of tobacco pipes were taken on around half of voyages as bartering material, and what impact this had on trading from Bristol.
"During the 1810s and 1820s, the Tory merchant and banker Richard Hart Davis rode high in Bristol electoral politics. Elected as one of the city's two MPs at a bye-election in 1812, he retained his seat at the general election of that year and at subsequent elections in 1818, 1820, 1826 and 1830". John Stevens looks at how Toryism was in the ascendancy, restricting the influence of Whiggism in Bristol.
In this article, Mike Breward looks at the use of Muster rolls on ships, noting what their purpose was and why they are so important. "Muster Rolls, listing ship's crews by name together with their service details, became a legal requirement on ship owners by an Act of Parliament in 1747. Their original purpose was to record monies paid into the 'hospital fund', a levy from seamen's wages for a relief fund for the injured and the provision of payments to widows and families of deceased sailors".
The passing of the Slave Trade Act in London in March 1807 did little to ease the burden of slaves already held in the British Caribbean. They had to wait until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 which began the slow move towards emancipation. The bicentenary of the 1807 Act was accompanied by new publications, exhibitions, and an urging of urban communities to engage in a commemoration of Abolition 200. English Heritage invited people to follow in the footsteps of the abolitionists and recall the lives of those slaves who were to end their lives here in Britain, far from their ancestor's African homelands. Visits to the graves of Africans were encouraged; one such grave was of Scipio Africanus. Colin Godman uncovers the life of Africanus through the information that is available about his master, the Earl of Gloucestershire.
The country house, centrepiece of the heritage industry, is something which is sold to us as being quintessentially British. In the South-West and throughout England, these sites have welcomed visitors for decades to come and enjoy the elegance and grandeur of this heritage. In this article, Madge Dresser highlights the sanitisation of the histories that are presented by these stately homes. Drawing our attention to the complex web of links between aristocratic wealth and the Atlantic slave economy, Dresser seeks to persuade readers that unearthing these links is a worthwhile historical enterprise.
Did Black History month in Bristol (October 2003) actually mean anything? And if so, to whom? It certainly was lively, with a wide range of meetings, launches, workshops, concerts and exhibitions filling the October calendar. But what did it signify beyond a civic gesture towards political correctness?
Anne Mackintosh looks at the archway at Paganhill and considers its links with the anti-slavery movement. Furthermore, the articles also considers the preservation of the arch over time, and how the community it features has persevered to maintain and preserve the history of the anti-slavery movement.
This is the first in an occasional series in which a document relating to the history of Bristol and its region is reproduced and discussed. The aim is to provide discussion points, not to provide the last word on the issues raised. Peter Fleming investigates a number of sources relating to the growing population of 'non-Bristolians' migrating to the city, and how they were perceived.