Britain’s History and Memory of Transatlantic Slavery

BookBritain’s History and Memory of Transatlantic Slavery

Britain’s History and Memory of Transatlantic Slavery

Local Nuances of a ‘National Sin’

Liverpool Studies in International Slavery, 11


March 1st, 2021



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Transatlantic slavery, just like the abolition movements, affected every space and community in Britain, from Cornwall to the Clyde, from dockyard alehouses to country estates. Today, its financial, architectural and societal legacies remain, scattered across the country in museums and memorials, philanthropic institutions and civic buildings, empty spaces and unmarked graves. Just as they did in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, British people continue to make sense of this ‘national sin’ by looking close to home, drawing on local histories and myths to negotiate their relationship to the distant horrors of the ‘Middle Passage’, and the Caribbean plantation. For the first time, this collection brings together localised case studies of Britain’s history and memory of its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and slavery. These essays, ranging in focus from eighteenth-century Liverpool to twenty-first-century rural Cambridgeshire, from racist ideologues to Methodist preachers, examine how transatlantic slavery impacted on, and continues to impact, people and places across Britain.


'Focusing on various dimensions of the history and memory of the Atlantic slave trade in different regions of Britain, this comprehensive book is an important and very welcome contribution to scholarship in the field.'
Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University

Author Information

Katie Donington is a Research Fellow with the Antislavery Usable Past project, Centre for Research in Race and Rights, University of Nottingham Ryan Hanley is Salvesen Junior Fellow in History at New College, Oxford. Jessica Moody is a Lecturer in Public History at University of Bristol

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations7
Part I: Little Britain’s History of Slavery33
1: From Guinea to Guernsey and Cornwall to the Caribbean: Recovering the History of Slavery in the Western English Channel35
2: ‘There to sing the song of Moses’: John Jea’s Methodism and Working-Class Attitudes to Slavery in Liverpool and Portsmouth, 1801–181753
3: Portrait of a Slave-Trading Family: The Staniforths of Liverpool74
4: Forgotten Women: Anna Eliza Elletson and Absentee Slave Ownership97
5: East Meets West: Exploring the Connections between Britain, the Caribbean and the East India Company, c.1757–1857116
Part II: Little Britain’s Memory of Slavery141
6: Whose Memories? Edward Long and the Work of Re-Remembering143
7: Liverpool’s Local Tints: Drowning Memory and ‘Maritimising’ Slavery in a Seaport City164
8: Local Roots/Global Routes: Slavery, Memory and Identity in Hackney186
9: Multidirectional Memory, Many-Headed Hydras and Glasgow209
10: Making Museum Narratives of Slavery and Anti-Slavery in Olney230
Selected Bibliography261