Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lancaster's Dark Past

This monument stands on St. George's Quay in Lancaster and commemorates the infamous slave trade in which Lancaster, as a principal port in its heyday, was a vital part. Further along the Quay is the Maritime Museum dedicated to the history of this city as a port. Indeed it was the major port; Liverpool had not even been thought of.
Downriver lies Sunderland Point and the small hamlet of Sunderland (not to be confused with the larger town near Newcastle upon Tyne). The old Luneside hamlet has changed little over the last couple of hundred years. Apart from the presence of a few cars you could be forgiven for thinking you had entered a time warp. According to records, slave were unloaded here then the ships would go upriver for more legitimate cargo before returning to collect its human one for shipment to America or the Carribean. The only remaining relics found there now are (1) a cottonwood tree growing by a riverside house and (2) "Sambo's" well preserved grave behind the village. Sunderland has only one tarmac road leading to it and is flooded by the tide twice a day.
Today the BBC radio ran a special programme marking the 200 th anniversary of the abolition of tyhe slave trade by William Wilberforce. Find out more about the Slave Trade Act here.



This is a close up of the base of the Slave Monument in Lancaster. A poignant reminder.
The other item of history that Lancaster is [in]famous for is the Pendle Witch Trials in 1612 but more on that another time.

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