Centre for Transnational History


Legacies of British Slave Ownership

Legacies of British Slave-Ownership

This project aims to develop the first systematic analysis of the extent and significance of slave-ownership in the formation of modern Britain. Drawing on the census of slave-owners in the British empire created by the Slave Compensation Commission in the 1830s to manage the distribution of the then enormous sum of £20m paid as compensation to slave-owners on the abolition of colonial slavery, the project will comprehensively document the people in nineteenth-century Britain who either owned slaves or otherwise benefited financially from slavery, and examine the different legacies of slave-ownership. A database Encyclopedia of British Slave-Owners will be created which will capture each of the several thousand slave-owners resident in Britain in the 1830s. It will be publicly accessible and act as hub for the local and regional efforts to show the linkages of communities in Britain to slavery.