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Commercial legacies

Commercial continuities, analysing the evolution of merchants, firms and financial institutions receiving slave compensation, and their use of slave-derived wealth in investments in Britain.

This strand allows the user to trace the continuities of people and firms over the 19th century and in some cases into the 20th and even 21st centuries, and to explore the redeployment of slave-wealth into Victorian Britain, including in railways, new industrial and commercial activities and the development of the City and regional financial centres.

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Commercial firms

Here you can view information about commercial and economic activities focusing on the firms themselves.

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Cultural legacies

What role did the wealth of slave-owners play in the collection of books, paintings and objets, and in philanthropy and cultural institutions in the 19th century? Some slave-owners were very significant as collectors or in a variety of institutions as this strand shows.

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Historical legacies

This strand is concerned with tracing the historical lineages and memories of the slave trade and slavery in historical and imaginative writing in the 19th century. As the idea of Britain as the 'anti-slavery nation' developed after abolition, issues of slavery and race were re-worked and often suppressed in accounts of what being 'British' meant.

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Imperial legacies

Imperial legacies, tracing the role of slave-owners in the wider circuits of Empire, as investors, administrators and settlers in colonies beyond the slave-colonies.

This strand, which has the potential to be significantly expanded, allows users an initial sense of the movement in the first half of the 19th century of British colonial slave-owners and former slave-owners into governing, settling and financing the new settler colonies of the British Empire, especially but not only Australia, Canada and New Zealand, at critical stages of their development.

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Physical legacies

The imprint of former slave-owners on the physical fabric of Britain was considerable. While there is much more to learn about this, this strand enables users to explore some of that imprint through documenting the ownership of country houses, urban residences, public monuments, and other physical evidence.

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Political legacies

Users can explore here the involvement of individuals at all levels of politics, including parliament, national and local government, and political parties and organisations. The connections between former slave-owners and their families and British political life stretched well into the 19th century and across a range of important issues.

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