Acacia Tree Books is committed to giving a voice to those previously silenced. It is hoped that the issues raised in our books may encourage readers to explore these issues further, and so we will be providing lists of resources that readers may find helpful.
Slavery and Abolition
The Reap the Forgotten Harvest trilogy by Remi Kapo explores Britain’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the sustained campaign to abolish it. The final part of the trilogy, to be published in 2021, will continue this journey through colonization and the two world wars.
The following resources may be accessed by the general public, either in person and/or through easily accessible digital archives. The museums are all free, although some temporary exhibitions may have an entrance charge. If you are visiting in person, some resources require registration, and it may be useful to check what you will need before your visit. It may also be necessary to make an appointment if you wish to see original documents.
The National Archives
The National Archives are the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, and holder of records for England and Wales. It also holds documents relating to British activity overseas, including colonial records.
The British Library
As well as being the national library of the UK, the British Library holds an extensive collection of documents, databases, maps, newspapers, drawings and prints, many of which have been digitised. It also holds the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections.
The archives for the Houses of Parliament include Hansard and extensive collection of documents including petitions and statutes.
A number of museums have significant collections relating to slavery, the abolitionist movement and colonial history.
Imperial War Museums
Based across five sites in England, the IWM record the experiences of conflict from the 1st World War to the present day of people from both Britain and the countries of its empire. It includes extensive archives of official documents, personal effects, oral history recordings, photographs, drawings and paintings.
International Slavery Museum
Based in Liverpool, the ISM is dedicated to exploring historical and contemporary aspects of slavery.
National Maritime Museum
A considerable resource on all aspects of British maritime history, including maps, manuscripts and paintings.
Wilberforce House Museum
Wilberforce House in Hull is the birthplace of the abolitionist and MP, William Wilberforce, and is dedicated to telling the story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its abolition.
Wisbech and Fenland Museum
Wisbech in Cambridgeshire was home to Thomas Clarkson, the famous abolitionist. This local museum holds many of his papers and related artefacts, including the original travelling chest which he carried to illustrated his case for direct trade with Africa.
Blake Museum, Bridgewater
Bridgwater Heritage was founded by Dr Peter Cattermole in October 2012. It was re-founded in March 2016 as an informal research group and online platform for publishing materials and research on the history of Bridgwater and the surrounding villages. The Bridgwater petition was the first of many regional petitions calling for the abolition of slavery to reach Parliament.
Legacies of British Slave-ownership – University College London
This research centre traces the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain. Their website includes a searchable database for slave-owners receiving reparations following the abolition of slavery.
County Records Offices
These are an invaluable resource, and may include such details as local parish records.
Tracing family history
Tracing a family history when ancestors have been slaves presents particular challenges. An excellent guide is Paul Crooks’ A Tree Without Roots: The Guide to Tracing British, African, and Asian Caribbean Ancestry (Arcadia Books).