Emancipation of the Dispossessed: Slavery, Abolition and Us - a South East London angle

Emancipation of the Dispossessed was a local community project exploring the local history of Deptford and the surrounding areas and the connections with the transatlantic slave trade. Community groups and students from Lewisham College worked with theatre educators to research and develop 'Blood Sugar', a promenade performance through the Queen's House, Greenwich. The play, written and directed by John Turner, tells the story of slavery and abolition from a local angle, and the script was built around first-hand and eyewitness accounts, campaign pamphlets and reports to parliament. The project also produced learning resources aimed at Key Stage 3 History and Citizenship.

A guided walk explored Deptford’s links to the history of the transatlantic slave trade, uncovering stories of some of the local people who played an important role in the beginnings of the slave trade or the campaign for its abolition. London was an important slave trading port before Bristol and Liverpool dominated the trade. The trade and British colonies were protected by the Royal Navy, whose ships were built and prepared for voyages at the Royal Dockyards at Deptford.

See the website here

Download the Guided walk around Deptford below. 

The section on S. Paul's church and churchyard reads:


From the evidence provided by parish registers, (held at Lewisham local history and archives centre) we know that many black people lived in and around Deptford in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These records show that increasing numbers of black people were baptised or buried at local churches, such as St Nicholas’ St Paul’s. Many black people landed at Deptford when they arrived in Britain. Some may have been brought from the Caribbean to work in London as slaves, but many were free people and some decided to settle in or near Deptford. Most people of African origin who lived in London had jobs and lived as ordinary members of the working class. Because many black people in London, like many white people, lived in poverty and could not read or write, there are very few detailed records of their lives. Burial registers, such as the records for St Paul’s churchyard are often the only records that remain."

A_walk_through_DEPTFORD_and_GREENWICH_exploring_the_histo_eeVvCnb, PDF