VCH Explore

Explore England's Past

Bristol Slavery Trail

This is a town trail with a difference. It aims to show you what the handsome squares and quaint buildings of a pleasant English city have to do with one of the ugliest and most destructive events in human history... the Transatlantic slave trade. Bristol is over 1000 years old. It has been a city for over 700 years. Its involvement with the Transatlantic slave trade lasted just over 150 years from around the 1660's to the early 1800's. So the history of Bristol is not just about the enslavement of Africans. Nor was Bristol the only slaving port in Britain. But it was the trade in Africans, and even more importantly, the trade in the goods from slave plantations, which helped to make Bristol such a beautiful and prosperous port. The places you will visit on this trail are real places and you will learn about those who walked these same streets before you -- in the days of slavery.
Click on a marker to visit that item's page.

Collection Items

All Saints Church dates from around the early 12th century and has been enlarged and altered over successive centuries, most notably: 15th century

Corn Street was the street where many merchants did business during the 1700s.

The Bristol Slavery Trail illustrates the links between the city of Bristol and the wider global economy during the era of the Atlantic slave trade

The Exchange was built in 1741–43 by John Wood the Elder, with carvings by Thomas Paty, replacing the less grand facilities on the site for Bristol

This once was the site of one of the first banks outside London.

The Commercial Rooms were built in 1810 by Charles Busby, just after the aboliton of the slave trade in Britain (1807).  It replaced a well-known C

The first open meeting in Bristol on the abolition of the slave trade occurred in 1788, in the medieval Guild Hall (now demolished), Broad Street.

Off Broad Street is Tailor's Court, to one side of which is The Court House.

The Lewin's Mead Sugar House, now Hotel du Vin Bristol, was once a sugar refinery processing sugar cane.

Colston is widely revered as one of Bristol's biggest benefactors.