Slave owners registry project


Names of Britain’s 46,000 slave owners, including relatives of Graham Greene and George Orwell. Slave ownership, it appears, was far more common than has previously been presumed. Many of these middle-class slave owners had just a few slaves, possessed no land in the Caribbean and rented their slaves out to landowners, in work gangs.These bit-players were home county vicars, iron manufacturers from the Midlands and lots and lots of widows. About 40% of the slave owners living in the colonies were women. Then, as now, women tended to outlive their husbands and simply inherited human property through their partner’s wills.
The geographic spread of the slave owners who were resident in Britain in 1834 was almost as unexpected as the gender breakdown. Slavery was once thought of as an activity largely limited to the ports from which the ships of the triangular trade set sail; Bristol, London, Liverpool and Glasgow. Yet there were slave owners across the country, from Cornwall to the Orkneys. In proportion to population, the highest rates of slave ownership are found in Scotland.
The compensation of Britain’s 46,000 slave owners was the largest bailout in British history (40% of the total government expenditure for 1834 - Around £16.5bn nowadays) until the bailout of the banks in 2009. Not only did the slaves receive nothing, under another clause of the act they were compelled to provide 45 hours of unpaid labour each week for their former masters, for a further four years after their supposed liberation. In effect, the enslaved paid part of the bill for their own manumission.
The files have been converted into an online database; a free, publicly available resource.
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/
David Olusoga on Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQZt5ZWRXSs