The Atlantic Slave Trade — The National Picture: Will Pettigrew and James Dawkins

At Litfest 2022, Will Pettigrew and Nick Radburn introduced Lancaster University’s huge research project into what became of the £20million compensation paid in 1837 to former slave owners, while members of Lancaster Black History Group, including Alan Rice and Sunita Abraham, presented their complementary work based on community research in the city. At Litfest 2023, we are proud to welcome them back to hear what the latest research has uncovered and how this changes and deepens our understanding of our history.

In this event, Will Pettigrew will describe progress on the research project to date and then talk about the history of Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans.

James Dawkins has been researching small shareholders of stock in the Royal African Company during the enterprise’s final three decades of operation (1720–50), and will explore the potential implications, including evidence for much wider public participation in the trading of enslaved African people at all levels of British society and not simply among the wealthy elite.

Will Pettigrew is Professor of History at Lancaster University. He is the author of Freedom’s Debt: The Royal African Company and the Politics of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1672–1752.

Dr James Dawkins is a socio-economic historian and Research Fellow on the Register of British Slave Traders project headed by Lancaster University.


21 Mar 2023


7:30 pm


The Storey Auditorium
Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Location 2

Online via Crowdcast

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