‘The sugar in our tea’: new exhibition on Scotland, slavery and abolition

Appraisement of the Invera Estate, Tobago, 1829 listing slaves, their condition and value (MS Gen 946/4)

Appraisement of the Invera Estate, Tobago, 1829 listing slaves (MS Gen 946/4)

A new exhibition exploring Scottish connections with the transatlantic slave trade, plantation slavery and abolition, is now open to view in Am Fosglan (Level 2 of the Library).  The exhibition is curated by students from Professor Simon Newman’s History Special Subject course ‘The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Development of Plantation Slavery’. The students identified interesting original documents in Special Collections, researched them, selected a number for photography then wrote informative captions to accompany them. The exhibition shows how fresh aspects of this story can be uncovered using original materials.

Detail from a 1657 map of Barbados, showing plantations and escaped slaves being hunted down (Sp Coll Hunterian K.3.3)

Detail from a 1657 map of Barbados, showing plantations and escaped slaves (Sp Coll Hunterian K.3.3)

Glasgow’s history is inextricably intertwined with the transatlantic slave trade. In the words of the exhibition’s twelve student curators:

Glasgow … took full advantage of the opportunities afforded by trade in the goods produced by slaves. Vast quantities of New World tobacco and sugar arrived in the city and its outlying ports Port Glasgow and Greenock. The Atlantic trade helped trigger significant expansion of local manufacturing, as everything from coal to linen to shoes was produced for export to Britain’s mainland and Caribbean colonies. Glasgow’s trade connections through and around the Atlantic World thus transformed the eighteenth-century city and the lives of its rapidly increasing population.

To learn more, please pop along to Am Fosglan on Level 2 of the Library. The exhibition will be officially opened on the afternoon of Wednesday 19th June but is open to view now. A gallery of images from the exhibition is also available online along with an online version of the exhibition. Please feel free to visit Special Collections on level 12 of the Library to see any of the original documents.

Categories: Library, Special Collections

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3 replies


  1. Just your cup of tea? « University of Glasgow Library

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