New Abolition Heritage Listings To Mark International Slavery Day 2008

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 22 August 2008
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The latest Abolition listings complement an ongoing English Heritage project highlighting historic links to transatlantic slavery and the abolitionist movement.

To mark the UNESCO International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, Margaret Hodge, Culture Minister, has announced new protection for four historic buildings and monuments linked to the slave trade, and upgrades and amendments for 21 others.

The four new listings are in Watford, Milton Keynes, Hackney and Windermere, and the listings of another four - in Bristol, Camden Town, Stratford-on-Avon and Kingston-upon-Thames - have been upgraded.

A remaining 17 buildings have had their listing descriptions amended to ensure their connection with the slave trade and special historic interest is adequately reflected. Listed buildings are graded to show their relative importance: Grade I buildings are those of exceptional interest, Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest, and Grade II are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them.

"It is particularly fitting that on this day of national commemoration, so many of our historic buildings and monuments are being granted a new or increased level of protection,” said Margaret Hodge.

"So many of these listings or upgrades show different faces of the history of the slave trade in this country - from an elaborate headstone erected by an Earl for a beloved servant, once a slave in Virginia, to an upgrade for a house occupied by a former slave turned prosperous coal merchant.”

The headstone of George Edward Doney, Watford has been newly listed at Grade II. Born in Gambia, West Africa, c1758, he was sold into slavery and taken to Virginia, USA, where he most likely lived on a cotton or tobacco plantation.

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Listed in 2007 - The Custom House, St Georges Quay, Lancaster where traders paid their taxes. Lancaster slave ships carried in excess of 29,000 people out of Africa. Image Borris Baggs © English Heritage

Although the circumstances surrounding his arrival in England are unknown, he entered the service of the 4th Earl of Essex in 1766, aged about eight years old.

There is no information as to his role in the Earl's household, but given the quality of the tombstone and affectionate inscription, we know that he had earned the position of particular distinction and affection within the family.

Picton House in Kingston upon Thames has been upgraded today to Grade II*. The former residence of Cesar Picton, who is believed to have been born in Senegal in West Africa in 1755.

Brought to England by Captain John Parr in 1760, he was subsequently given as a ‘gift’ to Sir John Philipps, 6th Baronet at Norbiton Place, Kingston, in 1761. Cesar became the particular protégée of Lady Philipps and was the only non-family member mentioned in her will.

Receiving the substantial bequest of £100, he set himself up as a coal merchant, trading from Picton House, which he purchased in 1795, and became quite prosperous. Although relatively modest, the house has a remarkably lavish and untouched internal plasterwork and panelling.

In 2006, English Heritage started a project to review listed buildings and acknowledge historic links to transatlantic slavery and the abolitionist movement. This list of amendments, upgrades and new listings continues from the 16 made in December last year.

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The new listings join previous additions such as this memorial to Earl Grey in the centre of Newcastle. As Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons he was responsible for seeing the act abolishing the African slave trade through parliament. Image Borris Baggs © English Heritage

Further listings and upgrades include the tomb of Rasselas Belfield, an Ethiopian former slave turned favoured Manservant, in St. Martin's Churchyard, Windermere and a Monument to Joanna Vassa in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington. Vassa was the daughter of Gustavas Vassa, better known as Olaudah Equiano, England's foremost Black abolitionist.

"These new listings and upgrades show the close and continuing historical and social links that much of our heritage has to the history of slavery both in this country and from around the world."

The listings and upgrades in full:

Newly listed at Grade II:
The headstone of George Edward Doney, Watford - newly listed at Grade II
Tomb of Rasselas Belfield in St. Martin's Churchyard, Windermere - newly listed at Grade II
Monument to Joanna Vassa in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington - newly listed at Grade II
Tomb of John and Mary Newton, Olney, Milton Keynes - newly listed at Grade II

Upgraded to Grade II*:
Picton House (52 High Street, Kingston Upon Thames); Statue of Charles James Fox (Bloomsbury Square, Camden Town, London); Memorial to Scipio Africanus (Church of St. Mary, Church Close, Bristol); Tomb of Myrtilla (Church of St. Lawrence, Oxhill, Stratford On Avon)

Amended: Listed at Grade I:
Town Hall (Water Street, Liverpool); Church of St. Mary Woolnoth (Lombard Street, London); Church of Saints Peter and Paul (Church Street, Olney, Milton Keynes); Dr. Johnson's House (17 Gough Square, London); Wilberforce House Museum and Attached Garden Wall (High Street, Kingston upon Hull). Listed at Grade II*: Statue of William Wilberforce in garden of Wilberforce House (as before); Storrs Hall (Newby Bridge Road, Windermere); Allerton Hall (Springwood Avenue, Liverpool); The Director's House, Truman Brewery (91 Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, London); Clarkson Memorial (Bridge Street, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire); Playford Hall and Attached Revetments around the most inner bank of the enclosing moat (Playford, Suffolk); 62 Rodney Street (Liverpool). Listed at Grade II: Headstone of Charles Bacchus (Church of St. Mary, Queens Street, Culworth, Northamptonshire); Monument to Sir Tomas Clarkson (Church of St. Mary, Playford, Suffolk); Statue of Joseph Sturge in front of Tube Investment House (Harborne Road, Birmingham); Statue of Edward Colston (Colston Avenue, Bristol); Statue of Joseph Pease (High Row, Darlington).

August 23 2008 has been designated as the UNESCO day for the International Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. A full list of events can be found www.direct.gov.uk/en/slavery/DG_170793

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