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Historic site, Wills Memorial Building

The Wills Memorial building, Bristol University


Historic site, The Wills Memorial Building, Bristol University.This building of 1903 was a gift from the Wills family to the University. The family made their fortune in the tobacco trade. The tobacco trade was important to Bristol in the 18th century when slave-produced tobacco came largely from plantations in the American Republic. The Wills family took over existing Bristol firms in the late 18th century. American tobacco continued to be produced by slave labour until 1865. By the late 18th century the family were involved in a number of charitable activities in Bristol.They gave money to the 1793 edition of a book written by Olaudah Equiano, a former slave, which gives an account of the personal story of an enslaved African.T oday the book is an important historical resource, becasue not many enslaved Africans were able or had the chance to learn to write, due to this there are few accounts of this kind.

With thanks to the authors of the Slave Trade Trail around Central Bristol, Madge Dresser, Caletta Jordan, Doreen Taylor.

Creator: David Emeney

Date: 2003

Copyright: Copyright BCC Museum

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