Lunchtime Lecture: Legacies of British Slave-Ownership: Hidden Histories in the Collection

Past event archive
21 August 2014, 13:15

Ondaatje Wing Theatre


  • Lecture
George Orwell
by Felix H. Man (Hans Baumann)
NPG P865
Sir George Gilbert Scott Sr
by George Richmond
NPG 1061


To mark Slavery Remembrance Day, Dr Nick Draper re-examines images in the Gallery’s Collection to highlight the common history behind figures as various as Sir George Gilbert Scott and George Orwell, and to prompt the question: what is Britain's debt to slavery?

Britain's involvement in colonial slavery has tended to be obscured by its involvement in abolition, but slave-ownership permeated Britain's elites in the late 18th and early 19th century. The descendants of these slave-owners include many figures of social and cultural significance in Britain whose linkages to slavery remain unacknowledged. New work is beginning to uncover these hidden histories.

Dr Nick Draper is co-director of the Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833 project at University College London and was a founder-member of its precursor, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project. His The Price of Emancipation: slave-ownership, compensation and British society at the end of slavery (2010) was awarded the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize and shortlisted for the Frederick Douglass prize.  He is a member of the Finance Committee, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Prior to his current research, he worked in the City of London for 25 years.

Seats for our lunchtime lectures are allocated on a first come, first served basis and are subject to availability.

Doors open at 12.30pm