Sweet History landmark (photo)

The Seven Stars Pub

Address: Thomas Lane, Redcliffe, BS1 6JG

Date: Georgian period (1714-1837)

In late 1787 the Quaker anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson visited The Seven Stars pub to try and find out more about Bristol and its involvement in the Slave Trade. The landlord of The Seven Stars pub helped Thomas Clarkson find out about the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Clarkson talked to lots of sailors to find out about conditions on board the slave ships of Bristol.

This was a very dangerous investigation because most of the ship owners and the people who had invested in them, felt that it was none of Clarkson’s business, and they wanted him to stop asking questions. Many sailors were too frightened to talk to him because they thought they might not get any more work if they said how bad the conditions were on the ships.

Clarkson was threatened lots of times, and beaten up during his investigation. He found that the conditions on the slave ships were terrible for the sailors but even worse for the slaves. There was a lot of bullying between the sailors and officers on the ships, especially towards any black sailors, and there was a very high death rate. It was normal for up to a quarter of any crew and its prisoners to die from illness and disease during the voyage. The number of people dying on Bristol slave ships was even higher than those from other port cities involved in the triangular trade.

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