Saturday, March 24, 2007
This weekend marks the bi-centennial anniversary of the Slave Trade Act 1807.
Unlike the Atlantic ports of Bristol and Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne owed most of its prosperity to the blood and toil of its mining communities rather than the appalling trade in human cargo from Africa, and it was a Northumbrian, Prime Minister Charles Grey, who was responsible for steering the Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade through the House of Commons.
The 1807 Act however did not end slavery within the British Empire as slaves could still be owned but not sold. The abolitionist movement continued to campaign against the institution of slavery and in 1827 the Anti-Slavery Society was founded. Like many others around the country, the good ladies of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead petitioned for Abolition:
and on 23 August 1833 the Slavery Abolition Act outlawing slavery in British colonies was passed.