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Showing posts from July, 2017

William Wilberforce, slavery and Whitby

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Matthew Wigzell explores items in our collections that tell us more about slavery, and the journey towards its abolition.


We have recently undertaken work to make available and promote some of the more unusual items in our collections, and to record the context and stories behind them (for example, our earlier blog post about a Scarborough siege coin).

As part of this process we discovered that we hold an election ticket or medal, issued by William Wilberforce during the 1807 general election. Wilberforce was a sitting MP for Yorkshire, and was one of three candidates seeking two seats. The other candidates were Charles William Fitzwilliam (Viscount Milton), and the other sitting MP, Henry Lascelles. One of the big issues of the time was slavery, with Wilberforce leading the abolitionist movement in Parliament. Lascelles on the other hand, was a slave-owner from an aristocratic family, and had vast wealth based on plantations in the Caribbean.

The Borthwick Institute here at York hold…