research into Wolverhampton/Staffordshire connection to slavery and the slave trade

online launch of this new research into local links to transatlantic enslavement; with Dr Angelina Osborne & Roger McKenzie – videos here

Transatlantic Enslavement links to Wolverhampton, Staffordshire & the Black Country, with author Dr Angelina Osborne, introduced by Roger McKenzie, Gen Sec of Liberation

Question and Answer session with author Dr Angelina Osborne, introduced by Roger McKenzie, Gen Sec of Liberation at research launch meeting Transatlantic Enslavement links to Wolverhampton, Staffordshire & the Black Country


March 2022: The research is now complete and available to download. 

We feel that this unique piece of research is an important first step in unravelling the links between the industries and industrialists of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire and the Black Country to trans-Atlantic enslavement.

WB&DTUC will then reproduce this research in a form more suitable for use in schools and trade union education and publish a printed version for distribution. For this when safer, we intend an in-person launch. 

This project has been organised and funded by:

Wolverhampton, Bilston and District Trades Union Council with GMB X13, UNITE WM6150, UNITE Black Country Area Activists Committee, UNISON City of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire UNISON, Dudley TUC and a Trades Union Council Development grant.

We are very pleased with the outcome and given a £2,500 budget, we believe it to be very good value for money.

We have discussed with Dr Osborne the basis for further research, developing the work already done. We envisage the cost of this to be around £10,000 and we will use the launches to generate publicity for this further round of fundraising.

The Slave Compensation Commission was created to manage the distribution of £20 million compensation to owners (not: to slaves …). Its records provide a more or less complete census of slave-ownership in the British Empire in the 1830s. The individuals named in these records form the starting point of the Encyclopaedia of British Slave-ownership.

Prominent historian Patrick Vernon from Wolverhampton. He is nationally recognised as an expert on black history, and has published extensively.

On learning of this proposed research he said: “I welcome the proposal. This work needs to be done. I am not aware that it has yet been. Hopefully this research will be the start of other similar projects.”

closing date was 30 May 2021

Further reading:

Recipients of payments from the Slavery Abolition Act 1833

database can be found here:

British slave owners

Simon Briercliffe, a local historian has written some blog posts about known links:

see also

wednesfield traps

nail trade

similar to our report but for Sheffield –



Aug21 we have appointed a researcher Angelina Osborne to the

Research project

The Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council sought a researcher to undertake some initial research into Wolverhampton/Staffordshire connection to slavery and the slave trade. This project stems from the Black Lives Matter movement.


1. Uncover the history, which is of particular importance and poignant interest to black trades unionists, but certainly not only to them.

2. Identify and research complicit individuals and their companies.

3. create a database of research materials studied.

3. identify further avenues for future research.

4. help to strengthen BAME trade union networks.

5. Increase public recognition of some local people and companies’ involvement in Britain’s shameful past.

Main tasks

  • Identify materials and sources which shed light on the links between Wolverhampton/Staffordshire and the Slave Trade.

  • Use the ‘Encyclopaedia of British Slave-ownership’ and other sources to gather information about families and individuals from the area connected to the slave trade.

  • Produce resources suitable for Trade Unions, particularly BAME trade union networks, as well as schools, colleges, and the general public.


The key skills required are:

  • Research, particularly on-line databases

  • Synthesising information from a range of sources

  • Writing simply and lucidly

  • Presenting material to the TUC (others can present to other groups; or the researcher can do it for free if she/he thinks it will help their CV; budget will not stretch to paid presentations)

  • Working independently with light supervision


We would consider applicants with a wide range of experience.

We encourage applications from BAME candidates (including candidates who would want support to develop some of their skills).

We would look favourably on candidates who have a history of trade union and/or anti-racist activism and an interest in the history of empire.

We would be very happy for students who planned to use this work as part of their studies to apply.

We would consider applications on a job share basis.

For anyone who wishes to know more about the role contact


The budget for this project is modest. As we are willing to consider candidates with differing levels of experience, we would negotiate hourly rate and total number of hours with the successful candidate.

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