Sugar and Slavery

I vowed to revisit the Museum in Docklands at a later date. Originally I went there as part of my series on Thames Crossings and my investigation into London Bridge. While I was at the museum, I pretty much headed for the exhibitions and artefacts related to London Bridge and skirted the rest. But there was one gallery that got my attention s I wandered through this wonderful building, and that was the gallery on Sugar and Slavery. The only permanent exhibition in the UK that takes a look at this country’s role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. You could see that the Slave Trade went far beyond London’s Docks and was woven into the fabric of the city itself.

It is a sobering thought, especially on entering the gallery and seeing numbers on the list, and even more frightening to see the amount of ‘unknown’ numbers carried on the ships. Slavery did not stop with the various abolition acts of 1807 and 1833 as vast numbers of mainly Indian and Chinese labour were taken to the same colonies to replace the slaves as indentured labour. Even today in the UK, there is masses of Human Trafficking. Slavery is not a new phenomena, it is as old as humanity itself. But that does not make it right in the slightest, and it does take more than the collective will of the people to rid us of this curse.

The Sugar and Slavery gallery at the Museum of Docklands is a magnificent example of the slave trade in London. How the wealth of this city was built on the back of millions of people brought in chains halfway round the world. It is a reminder of what is one of humanity’s greatest crimes, and how we are still living with those effects today. It shows the intolerable cruelty of humanity, and how easy it is to dehumanise a person on the basis of their origins and beliefs. We should also not forget that slavery will continue to exists as long as the laws of supply and demmand continue unabated with a restrictive migratory system. You only have to walk down a London street or take a ride on a bus to see it for yourself…

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Filed under life, london, political

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