Spotlight on slave trade

PUBLISHED: 12:58 20 April 2007 | UPDATED: 20:01 01 June 2010

A house at 8 York Row, Wisbech, which was owned by one of Anne Clarkson’s cousins. Thomas lived there and continued to attend the town’s Grammar School until he was 15

A house at 8 York Row, Wisbech, which was owned by one of Anne Clarkson’s cousins. Thomas lived there and continued to attend the town’s Grammar School until he was 15

AN on-line display, with a strong Wisbech connection, has been unveiled to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Slaves, Owners and Abolitionists showcases historic parchments and papers from Cambridgeshire County Council s cou

In the display are the 70ft Clarkson Memorial, unveiled in Wisbech in 1881 (postcard in Fenland Collection and, above, An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, by Thomas Clarkson, published by James Phillips, a Quaker bookseller

AN on-line display, with a strong Wisbech connection, has been unveiled to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

"Slaves, Owners and Abolitionists" showcases historic parchments and papers from Cambridgeshire County Council's county record office in Cambridge and the Fenland Collection, in Wisbech.

It investigates Cambridgeshire's connections with the slave trade and its abolition, and draws upon a variety of sources including personal letters, architectural plans, photographs, pamphlets and slave accounts.

As well as famous names like anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson, from Wisbech, and former slave Gustavus Vassa, the display celebrates many lesser-known figures, such as Joseph Beldam, whose tireless work for the Anti-Slavery Society went largely unrecognised, and John Tharp, owner of sugar plantations in Jamaica.

Items on display include a plan of a hospital for sick slaves in Jamaica dating from 1798, and an 18th century description of a slave ship - "she is a large ship, mounts 20 or 22 guns and is going for 600 slaves to the Gold Coast ..."

Other exhibits include a valuation of the financial worth of slaves in the West Indies, and the marriage register entry for the wedding of Gustavus Vassa and Susanah Cullen in Soham in 1792.

To view the display go to http//www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/archives/online/slavery

An extended version of the display will be touring a number of libraries throughout the county until mid-November.

For further details, visit the 24 Hour Museum's website at www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/index.html


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