Holburne hosts free lecture on slave trade


Bristol’s role played in the transatlantic slave trade – and its regional implications – will be the subject of a free lecture by Dr Olivette Otele – Senior Lecturer in History at Bath Spa University – at the Holburne Museum in Bath tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 5th).

The lecture entitled Bristol in the Atlantic World: Trade, Slavery and Abolition will focus on Bristol’s transformation from a small provincial port to a major contender in the transatlantic slave trade.   

Dr Olivette Otele Bath Spa University
Dr Olivette Otele
Bath Spa University

Dr Otele said: “The Italian explorer John Cabot settled in Bristol around the 1490s and set the pace for new trading practices based on transatlantic explorations. The following centuries were marked by stronger bonds between the city of Bristol and the maritime world. These growing ties created the foundations for the city to become one of the largest recipients of slaves from across the world.”

The talk will also explore Bristol’s role in the abolitionist movement as well as the impact of slavery on the city and the associated ripple effect of wealth.

The history of Bristol’s involvement in the slave trade was recently highlighted by Academy Award-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. Mr Ejiofor plays the lead role in the film 12 Years A Slave and recently claimed people in the UK have a ‘reflex fear’ when it comes to slavery and believes people are afraid of talking about the issue and the impact the trade had on the country.

The Holburne Museum
The Holburne Museum

Mr Ejiofor made particular reference to Bristol, Bath and London. He believes people’s fondness for these cities leads them to ignore the historic association they have with slavery.

This lecture is part of the Bath Spa University Centre for History and Culture Lecture Series and begins at 6:00pm.

All are welcome but spaces are limited. To reserve a free ticket please call The Holburne Museum on 01225 388569.

1 Comment

  1. Dr Otele’s lecture was fascinating and she touched on so many angles of the triangular trade. So much to consider – the economy of the time, the wealth of those at the top of the chain and the poverty and suffering of those at the bottom. And that the commodification of people is still prevalent in our world. An eye-opening look at Bristol, Bath and all our heritage.

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