Hidden Stories, Slavery and Barnsley


This portrait shows Walter Spencer-Stanhope, who owned Cannon Hall and who wanted to see an end to the slave trade. He is shown wearing the clothes and wig that were very fashionable at the time. He was a member of a club in London that allowed him to mix with very wealthy and powerful people including the Prime Minister, William Pitt.

From 1775 onwards Walter had been elected as a Member of Parliament and was known for his passionate speeches. He used his position as a Member of Parliament to argue for things he believed in. He was a friend of William Wilberforce, the famous anti-slavery campaigner whose views he shared. They wrote letters to each other and Wilberforce enjoyed visiting him at Cannon Hall.

William Wilberforce tried to get a law passed to ban the slave trade but it was blocked several times because some people feared they would lose money if it ended. Wilberforce came to be seen in parliament as a leader of the anti-slavery movement but there were many people across Britain who supported him and a number of ex-slaves including Olaudah Equiano, who worked very hard to raise the awareness of many British people.

In 1807 the Slave Trade Abolition Bill outlawed the transporting of slaves throughout the British Empire. In 1833 Parliament

finally passed the Slavery Abolition Act which would eventually give all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.

What do you think Walter would say he was brought to life now?

Why do you think it was important for people like Olaudah Equiano to give speeches in Britain against the slave trade?

When did the trans-Atlantic slave trade end and when did slavery end? Or has it ended?

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