Norwich – 1792 Anti Slave-Trade Committee

Whilst I was looking at the history of The Bell pub I noticed that they were home to the Norwich Revolutionary Society, a group that would probably be called ‘woke’ today. Or, I prefer the word ‘kind’, but each to their own. I found this list of donors to the 1792 campaign to end slavery and I thought how just ahead of the curve these individuals were. But there was also one group in the list which was an organisation, namely the Revolutionary Society who donated nearly £11, equivalent to around £900 today.

Others who donated more than £1 included:

H Bell

G Maltby

Rev. John Buxton

John Birkbeck

James Smith

Yarington and Bacon

Rev. D Foster

Joseph Gurney

John Gurney

Rev. John Prettyman

Miss Green

John Jackson

John Scott

N Styleman

William Herring

Hannah Goddart

Rev. Philip Bell

Rev. Stephen Allen

Rev E Edward

The Gurneys were a local Quaker banking family, with their business eventually becoming part of Barclays Bank. Slavery is a challenge to Barclays, some of their founders over the centuries were slave owners, but some of their other important figures were campaigning against it. William Herring was a wealthy Norwich merchant who became the Sheriff of the city in 1786 and the Mayor in 1796, when he received a present of a sword from Horatio Nelson. I’m intrigued by some of the other names on the list, I may well return to this as it’s a fascinating subject.