The Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership has been established at UCL with the generous support of the Hutchins Center at Harvard. The Centre will build on two earlier projects based at UCL tracing the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain: the ESRC-funded Legacies of British Slave-ownership project (2009-2012), and the ESRC and AHRC-funded Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833 (2013-2015).
Colonial slavery shaped modern Britain and we all still live with its legacies. The slave-owners were one very important means by which the fruits of slavery were transmitted to metropolitan Britain. We believe that research and analysis of this group are key to understanding the extent and the limits of slavery's role in shaping British history and leaving lasting legacies that reach into the present. The stories of enslaved men and women, however, are no less important than those of slave-owners, and we hope that the database produced in the first two phases of the project, while at present primarily a resource for studying slave-owners, will also provide information of value to those researching enslaved people.
We are currently recruiting paid postgraduate contributors to Global Threads, a public history collaboration between the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership, UCL and the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester. Global Threads will conduct original research into Manchester’s buildings, locations, memorials and museum objects to draw out new and previously under-described stories of lived experience, resistance and solidarity in relation to colonialism, enslavement and the city’s cotton economy. Click Full Details for more information.
The National Trust has just released (September 2020) its 'Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery'.
Charlotte Riley has contributed a blog on the resulting controversy surrounding the report here.
For LBS media enquiries such as requests for interviews please contact UCL Media Relations
Office: +44 (0)20 7679 9041
LBS - past & present: here we have a statement, 12 June 2020, on doing reparative history and you can read an associated statement from the new Director of the Centre, Matthew Smith, on the challenges and prospects for our work. And for an interview with Matthew Smith see also The Guardian, 22 September 2020.
There is also a link to a recent statement by many leading British historians calling for a review of the Home Office Citizenship and Settlement Test and its misrepresentation of slavery and Empire.
In an article in the London Review of Books (23 January 2020), Catherine Hall explores the notion and practice of a ‘hostile environment’ for immigrants to Britain.
We are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Matthew Smith as the new Director of LBS as successor to Nick Draper, who retired as Director in September 2019. For an interview with Matthew Smith, occasioned by Black History Month, click here.
Nick Draper interviewed about LBS by Trevor Burnard.
At the beginning of 2020 we updated the LBS database and website. The updates include a large number of Jamaican inventories as well as revised and added entries for many individuals.
From time to time, the project sends out newsletters with details of forthcoming events and other news related to the project.
The LBS project has a blog, which you can access here. After originally running between May 2013 and December 2015 we have revived the blog in November 2017. We have written about individual case studies, made comments on sources and the research process and anything else which attracts our interest. Different members of the research project contributed posts and we have also had the occasional outside contributor.
In Legacies of British Slave-ownership. Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain, published by Cambridge University Press, we re-examine the relationship between Britain and colonial slavery in a crucial period in the birth of modern Britain.
On this page we will occasionally highlight recently published work which might be of interest to users of this website. Doing so does not endorse the opinions of the authors; but we mention them here because of their potential interest.
Click Full Details below for Diana Paton and Matthew J. Smith (eds), The Jamaica Reader, Alan Lester, Kate Boehme and Peter Mitchell, Ruling the World, Christine Walker, Jamaica Ladies, Vincent Brown, Tacky's Revolt, Kathleen Monteith, Plantation Coffee in Jamaica, 1790-1848, Julius Scott, The Common Wind, Katie Donington, The Bonds of Family, Sarah Thomas, Witnessing Slavery, Miles Ogborn, The Freedom of Speech, Christer Petley, White Fury, Daniel Livesay, Children of Uncertain Fortune, Margot Finn and Kate Smith (eds), The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857.
Britain's Forgotten Slave-owners, a two-part BBC programme based on LBS and presented by David Olusoga, was originally broadcast in July 2015.
When using the biographical entries in this website you may come across references to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Ancestry.co.uk (or Ancestry.com), Find My Past or ScotlandsPeople. These sites require payment or subscriptions so clicking on links to them usually produce a page restricting access unless you log in. For more on this issue, click Full Details below. This also includes a note on references used in the notes on compensation claims.