How did money from slavery help develop Greater Manchester?

Old Market Street, Manchester

Paul Braddon (1864-1938), 1820
Watercolour on paper

Object number 1952.153

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Old Market Street, Manchester

This watercolour of a street scene in Manchester, painted in about 1820, includes a tea merchant among the local shops, his advertising board just visible on the side of the building on the far right. By this time, the fashion for drinking sweet tea was spreading throughout society, encouraged by the increased availability of sugar, grown mainly by enslaved people in the British West Indies.

Although the 1807 government act had made the trading of slaves illegal, it did not free people from the institution of slavery, which continued in Britain and its territories until the Act of Abolition in 1833. Under this act, slave owners were paid compensation for their losses and even then, not all enslaved people were made free. There is evidence that slavery continued in some British territories as late as the early 1900s, nearly a 100 years after this delicate painting of a Manchester street.

This information was provided by curators from Manchester Art Gallery.