Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Ray T

Canals and Transatlantic slavery: review published by Waterways Charity

Featured Posts

PRESS RELEASE

24th September 2020

 

CANALS AND TRANSATLANTIC SLAVERY: REVIEW PUBLISHED BY WATERWAYS CHARITY

 

An initial review of academic literature about canals and transatlantic slavery has been published by waterways and wellbeing charity the Canal & River Trust.

 

Some aspects of the canals’ history remain hidden or have never been researched and explored with wider audiences.  It is known that some people who made their wealth through the slave trade invested those profits in canal building, and some canals were built specifically to carry goods derived from the exploitation of slaves – tobacco, cotton and sugar for example.  The Black Lives Matter movement has spurred on the Trust to start exploring these issues and make them more widely known.

 

In spring 2020, the Trust commissioned Dr Jodie Matthews, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, to undertake the review.  Dr Matthews’ research interest and expertise in the canals and their story has helped her to contextualise the work of the Trust, especially its Museums, in wider academic debates and fields of study. 

 

Graham Boxer, head of collections and archives at Canal & River Trust, said: “Museums and heritage organisations are well aware that the narratives they present might exclude potential audiences and ‘hide’ histories that many people today identify with.  The series of events that have made up the Black Lives Matter movement have led to many organisations re-evaluating the stories they tell.

 

“We recognise that our National Waterways Museum Collection and Archives are not representative of all those whose lives that have been touched by the canals and that there are important stories waiting to be uncovered and made known.  As custodian of the waterways, and despite ongoing work with communities, we have lacked specific in-depth knowledge about the linkages between canal history and the transatlantic slave trade.

 

“We welcome the important conversations taking place about Black British history, and how best to recognise the legacy of Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.  We are pleased to publish this initial review and are working on how to move forward from this starting point.”

 

More information, and the full review, can be found here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-history/canals-and-transatlantic-slavery

 

-ends-

 

For further media requests please contact:

Fran Read, Canal & River Trust

m 07796 610 427 e fran.read@canalrivertrust.org.uk

 

 

Edited by Ray T
  • Unimpressed 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have C&RT so many problems finding things that they can waste money on?

Would it not be easier to be a canal charity and look after their asset, spending the money where it will do physical good instead of a daft wellbeing publicity seeking silliness?

  • Greenie 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're merely seeking out high profile activities with a feel good factor that can be easily sourced out and grabbed by the media, while appearing to be doing warm fuzzy stuff. 

Scoring smarty points while ignoring the prime business objective (make no mistake it is a business!) always smacks of diversionary tactics by a weak or ineffective executive team.

  • Greenie 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the attacks on statues what are the chances of damage to canals built to carry slave traded goods.   Fancy a breach anybody?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Jerra said:

With the attacks on statues what are the chances of damage to canals built to carry slave traded goods.   Fancy a breach anybody?

I don't think we need worry. Unless there was a slave trader called Mr Caldon or Sir Trentandmersey we are unlikely to be targeted.

After all, no-one has stopped going to cheap car washes because they are usually staffed by trafficked folk, have they?

  • Greenie 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

I don't think we need worry. Unless there was a slave trader called Mr Caldon or Sir Trentandmersey we are unlikely to be targeted.

After all, no-one has stopped going to cheap car washes because they are usually staffed by trafficked folk, have they?

If CRT start publicising which canals had connections with the slave trade things might be different.

 

Everybody round here has stopped using cheap car washers the dodgy ones were closed by the police and the pukka ones went home after the attitude of many ost brexit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Have C&RT so many problems finding things that they can waste money on?

Would it not be easier to be a canal charity and look after their asset, spending the money where it will do physical good instead of a daft wellbeing publicity seeking silliness?

I thought the press release was a joke....sadly not it seems....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Arthur Marshall said:

 

After all, no-one has stopped going to cheap car washes because they are usually staffed by trafficked folk, have they?

That is something that always bothers me when I have the car cleaned

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, yes, this fetish with getting cars cleaned....it rained a lot last night, car was sparkling this morning.

  • Greenie 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, matty40s said:

Ah, yes, this fetish with getting cars cleaned....it rained a lot last night, car was sparkling this morning.

Surely a car only needs washing when you are about to trade it in or sell it!

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

I don't get modern 'cancel' culture. You can't erase your past - best to look to the future surely??

It's not "cancel" culture - it's just that some people have finally realised that it's daft (and possibly wrong or, at least, stupid) to consider that footballers, rock singers, dead politicians or slave traders should be held up as role models, or remembered for anything other than their actual achievements. Which in some cases were great, in most cases, like most of us ordinary folk, a mixture, and in some cases, totally reprehensible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Josiah Wedgwood, and many other Quaker canal investors (the L&LC was initially promoted by Quakers from Yorkshire), were against the slave trade. They were faced with the dichotomy: do you encourage customers who were slave owners, or do you let your own business fail? This was particularly so for Wedgwood, some of his best customers being the aristocracy who were often owners of large numbers of slaves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Pluto said:

Josiah Wedgwood, and many other Quaker canal investors (the L&LC was initially promoted by Quakers from Yorkshire), were against the slave trade. They were faced with the dichotomy: do you encourage customers who were slave owners, or do you let your own business fail? This was particularly so for Wedgwood, some of his best customers being the aristocracy who were often owners of large numbers of slaves.

The Quakers are notorious pragmatists - remember the quote from one confronted with a burglar: "Friend, I mean thee no harm, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot."

I'm sure Josiah squared it with his conscience OK! It's also hard to see how anyone could have avoided some form of contact with the products of the trade. You could well argue that the situation in the mills and factories wasn't a lot better than slavery in some ways, though of course there's still a fundamental difference.

I always found it interesting that while slavery, in order to work, reduced people to property, recently departments once referred to as "personnel" got renamed as "human resources" - once again reducing humanity to the status of things like chairs and filing cabinets.

  • Greenie 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

You could well argue that the situation in the mills and factories wasn't a lot better than slavery in some ways, though of course there's still a fundamental difference.

Free to not work in a mill, or factory and starve to death, vs free to run away from the plantation and be hunted down with large dogs. Yay freedom!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like the canals are implicated in the history of oppression and racism and will have to be drained and filled in! 😮 Destroying anything with any links to historical slavery in a sort of Maoist "year zero" revolution does seem to be the logical conclusion of some more extreme BLM activists.

 

Hopefully more moderate thinking will prevail and we can plot a route that avoids offending people with ostensibly triumphalist symbols of oppression, while at the same time educating people and discussing the issues so that offence is not so easily taken. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24/09/2020 at 19:39, Pluto said:

Josiah Wedgwood, and many other Quaker canal investors (the L&LC was initially promoted by Quakers from Yorkshire), were against the slave trade. They were faced with the dichotomy: do you encourage customers who were slave owners, or do you let your own business fail? This was particularly so for Wedgwood, some of his best customers being the aristocracy who were often owners of large numbers of slaves.

Although he was a founder member of the predominantly Quaker Anti-Slavery Society, Josiah Wedgewood was a lifetime Unitarian, and not a Quaker. The early anti-slavery movement was promoted by dissenters from a number of different religions, including some prominent Anglicans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

Although he was a founder member of the predominantly Quaker Anti-Slavery Society, Josiah Wedgewood was a lifetime Unitarian, and not a Quaker. The early anti-slavery movement was promoted by dissenters from a number of different religions, including some prominent Anglicans.

Sorry, you are correct. I can never remember the life stories of narrow canal people, though Wedgewood did write that he thought a wide canal best for his Quaker friends in Bradford.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, blackrose said:

Sounds like the canals are implicated in the history of oppression and racism and will have to be drained and filled in! 😮 Destroying anything with any links to historical slavery in a sort of Maoist "year zero" revolution does seem to be the logical conclusion of some more extreme BLM activists.

 

Hopefully more moderate thinking will prevail and we can plot a route that avoids offending people with ostensibly triumphalist symbols of oppression, while at the same time educating people and discussing the issues so that offence is not so easily taken. 

Most of the extreme howling seems to be invented by the Daily Mail for a decent headline.  Most BLM activists are a bit more concerned with what they have to put up with now rather than anything that went on a century or so back. The odd thing like Colston was because people finally got fed up after about forty years of politely asking to be heard and being ignored. No-one's throwing Churchill into the Thames, just asking it to be remembered that he wasn't exactly a saint, but was also an egotistical bigot with some appalling attitudes who just happened to win a war, and therefore write the history book. Which, of course, he did.

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Most of the extreme howling seems to be invented by the Daily Mail for a decent headline.  Most BLM activists are a bit more concerned with what they have to put up with now rather than anything that went on a century or so back. The odd thing like Colston was because people finally got fed up after about forty years of politely asking to be heard and being ignored. No-one's throwing Churchill into the Thames, just asking it to be remembered that he wasn't exactly a saint, but was also an egotistical bigot with some appalling attitudes who just happened to win a war, and therefore write the history book. Which, of course, he did.

Ironicly, Edward Colston did not fund Colston Hall, named to commemorate him and built nearly 170 years after his death, along with his statue, but you are correct about the long running campaign to remove both the staue and his name from the Hall. Unfortunately the delay reflects a lot of non-decision making by the City Council over the years.

 

Edited by David Schweizer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

Ironicly, Edward Colston did not fund the Hall, which was built nearly 170 years after his death, and named to commemorate him, but you are correct about the long running campaign to remove his name from the Hall. Unfortunately the delay reflects a lot of non-decision making by the City Council over the years.

 

I wonder how many committees have reviewed the names over the years, but never quite managing to do anything.  Rather than an inability to make a decision it is more about applying the decision to do nothing without admitting you have made a decision.  That way no need to justify your decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

I wonder how many committees have reviewed the names over the years, but never quite managing to do anything.  Rather than an inability to make a decision it is more about applying the decision to do nothing without admitting you have made a decision.  That way no need to justify your decision.

I have no idea what the answer to your question is,  what I do know, having worked in, and  near, Bristol for nearly 30 years, is that Bristol City Council has consistently failed to reach any decisions about any matters of importance over those thirty years. Reducing Traffic Polution, Introducing a Tramway network, Re-opening the Portishead Railway line, not to mention deciding on a site for the Bristol Arena all come to mind, The only thing that has happened is the East Bristol Spine road, and that was imposed on the City by the Government's  Bristol Development Corporation, because the City Council could not agree on a route.

Edited by David Schweizer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.