Wed 3 Jul 2013, 12.30-14.00
Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Chris Jeppesen, Research Associate at the UCL Department of History, talks about his recent work on the Library’s collections tracing links between the East India Company and the Caribbean through the movement and correspondence of families.
Historians have tended to draw a binary between British involvement in India and the Caribbean. Rarely, do they acknowledge the intricate connections between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds that facilitated the transfer of people, capital and goods during the late eighteenth/early nineteenth centuries. Chris's ongoing research project based between UCL and the Library, has sought to uncover some of the connections between the East India Company and the Caribbean and to suggest ways that other interested researchers can expand our understanding of these links.
Crucial to many exchanges were family networks that spanned India, Britain and the Caribbean, allowing members access to opportunities that promised wealth and prestige. This talk will seek to demonstrate how by following one family - the Martins of Antigua - through the Library's collections, one can start to uncover the all too often ignored links between India and the Caribbean.
For contact details and a location map for the library, click here.
1.15pm on Tuesday 11th June 2013
Wilberforce Theatre, Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL
Catherine Hall discussed Britain and the legacies of slavery at this lunch hour lecture.
Once abolition was secured, Britons were keen to overlook slavery and emphasise the memory of emancipation. But Britain and Britons benefitted in multiple ways from slavery. By focusing on the role of the many slave-owners who lived here, should British history be reconsidered to take slavery into full account?
This lecture is available online here.
From the 6th March 2013, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PA
Our Slave-owners of Bloomsbury exhibition is currently on display in the lending section of Holborn Public Library.
Alongside Bloomsbury's associations with literary and cultural gentility runs a less comfortable story of exploitation and oppression, and the exhibition maps many of the British colonial slave-owners who settled in the area's streets and squares in the 18th and 19th centuries. But slavery was only part of the connections between Africans and the area, and the exhibition also celebrates these other African presences.
For contact details, opening hours and a location map for the library, click here.
5.30pm on Thursday 2nd May 2013
Room G34, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
In the spring of 1824 the Colonial Secretary was surprised to receive a visit from enormous old woman of almost totally black complexion wearing a colourful turban adorned with ostrich feathers and diamonds with a heavy necklace of golden Spanish doubloons and her great girth covered by a dress made from five pound notes. She arrived unannounced and insisted on an interview with the Colonial Secretary to protest a colonial tax in the colony of Demerara that discriminated against free women of colour such as her. Lord Bathurst was so impressed her magisterial presence that he promptly had the law repealed.
The old woman was Dorothy Thomas, an illiterate ex-slave born around 1765 who had purchased her own freedom and that of her family. By the time she made her assault on the Colonial Office she was reputed to be the richest resident in Demerara, and had financial connections to some of the biggest merchant houses in the Atlantic. A colonial subject such as Dorothy Thomas came as a surprise to Lord Bathurst and she comes as no less a surprise to us.
In her paper Cassandra Pybus (University of Sydney) explored the life of the extraordinary woman who became known as “the Queen of Demerara”.
For a map showing the location of the Institute of Historical Research, click here.
2pm-3pm, Tuesday 26th March 2013, National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU
Nick Draper and Keith McClelland ran a workshop about the LBS database at the National Archives on 26th March at 2pm with a practical demonstration of its relevance to local and family historians and a discussion about the wider implications of our research.
If you are interested in the importance of slave-ownership for your region, area, town or village in Britain; or if your family had connections with the Caribbean; or if you are descended from enslaved people; this database is potentially important to you.
27th February 2013, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Main Building, University College London 5:30pm
On Wednesday 27th February 2013, Catherine Hall gave a public lecture entitled 'Towards a new past: the legacies of British Slave-ownership' to celebrate the publication of this Encyclopaedia of British Slave-ownership and the inauguration of our new project, The Structure and Significance of British Caribbean Slave-ownership, 1763-1833. The event was followed by a demonstration of the Encyclopaedia by Nick Draper and Keith McClelland.
For a film of the lecture, click here.
29th March 2012, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Main Building, University College London 5:30pm
The Neale Conference opened with a free public lecture by Prof Robin Blackburn (Essex) on "Slavery and Finance in Britain's Empire of Free Trade". It was followed by a reception.
30th-31st March 2012, Old Refectory, Main Building, University College London
The colloquium presented the findings of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project and engaged with current work exploring the importance of slavery and slave-ownership in the re-making of the British imperial world after abolition in 1833.
10th October 2011 - 18th January 2012 - South Cloisters, Main Building, University College London
To mark Black History Month, the project organised a free exhibition examining the contentious lives and legacies of slave-owners living close to UCL at the moment of the university's foundation in the early nineteenth century.
During 2010 we held a series of workshops in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Newcastle with the aim of building a network of people interested in slave-ownership and its legacies in nineteenth-century Britain.
Each workshop included a presentation by the LBS team outlining the scope of the LBS project and a presentation on slave-ownership relevant to each regional audience. Members of local communities discussed their work and their plans for future research, and for the presentation of material previously solicited from the audience. The audience responded through structured Q&A sessions and gave very valuable feedback from each day.
These workshops were part of UCL's Public Engagement Initiative and were funded by the Beacon Innovation Seed Fund.
One important aspect of the research, presented by both the LBS team and workshop participants in Glasgow, concerned Scotland and slave-ownership. It has long been understood that Scots had a disproportionate presence in Caribbean slavery as part of the participation in the 'opportunities of Empire'. One dimension of this was Scottish slave-ownership. While it is possible to argue that the high point of this was at the end of the period of slave-ownership in the 1830s – though we cannot be certain – we believe that people living in Scotland accounted for at least 15% of absentee owners at a point when the Scottish population was less than 10% of the UK population as a whole. One of the largest single groups receiving compensation were Glasgow merchants, despite the prior absence of a significant direct participation in the slave trade. In total, Glasgow merchants took about 10% of the compensation paid to British merchants. However, it must also be noted that there is a question about what constitutes a Scot when we discuss 'Scottish slave-owners': a significant number of recipients of compensation money were Scots who had moved to England or whose families had their origins in Scotland.