The Impact of Transatlantic Slavery on England’s Built Environment: a Research Audit

A project that brings together previous research into the tangible traces of the impact of the transatlantic slave economy reflected in England’s built heritage.

Much work has been done over recent decades to understand England’s role in transatlantic slavery.

Spanning the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the transatlantic slave trade was one of the largest forced migrations of people and had a considerable impact on the history of Africa, the Americas and Europe. Britain dominated the trade in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, until a force of abolitionist opinion led to the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

However, the abolition of the trade did not mean an end to enslavement in British colonies, and wealth generated from commodities produced by enslaved labour continued to flow back to Britain. Emancipation of enslaved people in British Caribbean territories did not take place until 1833 (followed by binding terms of ‘apprenticeship’), and in other areas of the empire emancipation came later.

In early 2020 Historic England commissioned a research audit examining how this history finds expression in England’s built environment. The research audit brings together the work of historians, heritage organisations, local and community researchers, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic research networks which has identified the tangible presence of England’s slavery past in buildings, houses, streets, industrial heritage, urban fabrics and rural landscapes.

A project that brings together previous research into the tangible traces of the impact of the transatlantic slave economy reflected in England’s built heritage.

Much work has been done over recent decades to understand England’s role in transatlantic slavery.

Spanning the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the transatlantic slave trade was one of the largest forced migrations of people and had a considerable impact on the history of Africa, the Americas and Europe. Britain dominated the trade in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, until a force of abolitionist opinion led to the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

However, the abolition of the trade did not mean an end to enslavement in British colonies, and wealth generated from commodities produced by enslaved labour continued to flow back to Britain. Emancipation of enslaved people in British Caribbean territories did not take place until 1833 (followed by binding terms of ‘apprenticeship’), and in other areas of the empire emancipation came later.

In early 2020 Historic England commissioned a research audit examining how this history finds expression in England’s built environment. The research audit brings together the work of historians, heritage organisations, local and community researchers, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic research networks which has identified the tangible presence of England’s slavery past in buildings, houses, streets, industrial heritage, urban fabrics and rural landscapes.

Read more

Post expires on April 10th, 2021