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Muster roll

Muster roll


Ships’ muster rolls from 1767 – 1768; Society of Merchant Venturers’ archive.
Muster roll no: 2.

Muster roll for the ship, the Fly , sailing from Africa and St Christophers, Caribbean, 1765.
It is not known where in Africa slaves were bought, or how many. The master, Thomas Mills, died, probably in Africa, and John Morgan took over command of the ship.

The muster roll is a list of all crew signed on for all or part of a voyage, which was used to calculate the money each man should pay to the Sailors’ Hospital Fund (insurance).

The Society of Merchant Venturers is a Bristol-based organisation, which was formed in 1552 as an elite body of merchants involved in overseas trade. The Society still exists today.

Date: 1765

Copyright: Copyright The Society of Merchant Venturers

Hannah More

Portrait of Hannah More


Portrait of Hannah More , c1780, by Frances Reynolds. Hannah More was an influential Bristolian. Her poems against the slave trade, such as The Sorrows of Yamba, or t he Negro Woman’s Lamentation , were widely read.

The language used to describe people of African descent in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is unacceptable in today’s terms. We cannot avoid using this language in its original context. To change the words would impose 20th century attitudes on history.

Creator: Frances Reynolds

Date: c1780

Copyright: Copyright BCC Museum

Object ID:K313

The Rev Thomas Roberts

The Rev Thomas Roberts


The Rev Thomas Roberts, by James Curnock (c.1840). Rev Roberts was a pastor, from 1807, of the Baptist churches in Pithay and then and then in King Street. He was active in the anti-slavery movement as symbolised by the chains in the portrait. His obituary spoke of his extraordinary efforts towards the emancipation of slaves and extinction of slavery in all parts of the world. (Emancipation means end on slavery). After Britain abolished slavery, he continued to campaign against slavery in the USA, South America and India.

Creator: James Curnock

Date: c. 1840

Copyright: Copyright BCC Museum

Object ID:K5889

The Abolition of the Slave Trade

The Abolition of the Slave Trade


The Abolition of the Slave Trade, showing Captain John Kimber of Bristol flogging a slave girl because she was unwell and could not eat, by Isaac Cruikshank, 1792.

Copyright The British Museum

Creator: Isaac Cruikshank

Date: 1792

Copyright: Copyright British Museum

Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson , after painting by Chalon


Painting: Thomas Clarkson, after a painting by A E Chalon, R A Thomas Clarkson was the driving force behind the campaign to end slavery, which began from a concern with the harsh conditions suffered by ordinary seamen on slaving voyages. He wrote and spoke about the need for abolition, and in researching his subject he came to Bristol in 1787. With the help of local Quakers and the landlord of the Seven Stars Inn, Clarkson interviewed many sailors and heard their stories of the horrors of slaving voyages. In 1823 he addressed the first meeting of the Bristol Auxiliary Anti-Slavery Society. At his feet is Clarkson’s Box, a collection of the products of Africa. He tried to show that African foodstuffs, dye plants and maunfactures, such as fine textiles, could replace the trade in slaves, to the benefit of both African and European traders.

With thanks to P A Houston for the use of this item.

Creator: Chalon

Date: late 18th century

Copyright: Lent to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Invoice for glass

Invoice for glass for window panes


Invoice for glass for window panes to be shipped to Barbados, 1788. Almost all manufactured goods had to be imported into the colonies.

Creator: Vigor, Stevens, Randolph and Stevens

Date: 1788

Copyright: Copyright BCC Record Office

Robert Nugent

Robert Nugent


Portrait of Robert Nugent, by Thomas Gainsborough, 1760. Robert Nugent was MP for Bristol for 20 years from 1754. He was involved in the 1750 Act which replaced the London-based Royal African Company with the Company of Merchants Trading to Africa.The new company gave merchants a say in the running of the African trade. This portrait in the Lord Mayor’s Office shows Nugent holding copy of the Act for the Regulation of the Slave Trade.

Creator: Thomas Gainsborough

Date: 1760

Copyright: Copyright Bristol City Council

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