With the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and the Emancipation Act of 1833, Britain seemed to wash its hands of slavery
Not so, according to Marika Sherwood, who sets the record straight in this provocative new book.In fact, Sherwood demonstrates that Britain continued to contribute to and profit from the slave trade well after 1807, even into the twentieth century. Drawing on government documents and contemporary reports as well as published sources, she describes how slavery remained very much a part of British investment, commerce and empire, especially in funding and supplying goods for the trade in slaves and in the use of slave-grown produce. British merchants, ship-builders, insurers, bankers and manufacturers as well as investors all profited from this trade and the use of slaves on plantations, farms and mines. Their profits underpin British development, perhaps especially that of two of the great industrial cities of the 19th century, Liverpool and Manchester. The financial world of the City in London also depended on slavery, which - directly and indirectly - provided employment for millions of people. After Abolition also examines some of the causes and repercussions of continued British involvement in slavery and describes many of the apparently respectable villains, as well as the heroes, connected with the trade - at all levels of society. It contains important revelations about a darker side of British history, previously unexplored, which will provoke real questions about Britain's perceptions of its past.