Wednesday, 14 December 2011

TNA podcast: Untold histories: black Britons during the period of the British slave trade, c. 1660-1807

Life for the 'average' black person in England before and into the Victorian age wasn't what you might imagine.  There was never slavery in England, as there was in Scotland; that's according to Dr Kathleen Chater in this podcast from a lecture given during TNA's recent Diversity Week

According to Chater most were quietly getting on with their lives, seeking employment, getting married and raising families. Despite the obstacle that blacks were rarely identified as such in official records, and it takes a lot of work to uncover their life histories, glimpses into their lives can be found buried in The National Archives' vast collection. The presentation contains anecdotes about some colourful individuals.

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Sandra said...

The Bristol area may have been an exception to "no slavery in England". The Explore England's Past website includes a downloadable "Table of People of African Descent in Bristol before 1850".

My ancestor, Francis Creswick, is listed as the godfather and probable master of a young negro boy who was given the baptismal name of Francis Bristol.

Sandra Adams

JDR said...

Sandra: The podcast makes clear that there were plenty of black servants in the period, most people were servants, but they were not slaves. The term Master could be referring to an apprenticeship situation.

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

I admittedly don't know anything about English history but "servant" was euphemistically used in many early American documents in place of "slave."