This week we were lucky enough to welcome Professor David Richardson back to Tranby to speak to Year 8 about the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. Professor Richardson is one of the founders of the Wilberforce Institute and has lectured at the University of Hull and Yale on the Transatlantic Trade for many years. He spoke to Year 8 about when and why slavery was abolished in Britain and the British Empire, and how this story fits into the bigger picture of the Industrial Revolution and Britian's colonial history. "A good historian never stops asking questions" he said and then encouraged the pupils to ponder whether economics or a change in public opinion was more responsible for abolition.
He was keen to emphasise the role of ordinary people as agents of revolution and told Year 8 "You can change things individually or together if you organise yourselves". The pupils looked at account records from Nigeria and using their palaeography skills were able to decipher that enslaved people were paid for using different currencies, including conch shells from the Maldives. Professor Richardson wanted pupils to think about the cultural legacy of the slave trade. All of these were complex concepts for Year 8 to grapple with and they asked thoughtful questions throughout.