Tour Locations | Liverpool History and Culture: From the Past to the Present
Sir Thomas Street: Slave Trade
Before continuing our walk, we'll stop here for a minute or so while I deliver a brief explanation of how the slave trade operated from Liverpool.
Sir Thomas Street gets its name from a local landowner and slave trader Sir Thomas Johnson. Johnson was just one of many Liverpool merchants who capitalised on the slave trade, which earned the title the Triangular Trade. Ships sailed from Liverpool to Africa where they forged partnerships along the west coast with local tribal leaders. Here they exchanged goods such as cloth and guns in return for slaves. The ships then sailed to the West Indies or North America where the slaves would be exchanged or sold. The ships would then be laden with a variety of goods including sugar, coffee, tobacco and most notably cotton. These goods would be transported to Liverpool and sold here earning merchants enormous profits. Liverpool ships were to eventually transport more than one million slaves over the 107 year period.
Let's continue our walk in the same direction along Whitechapel while I tell you how the slave trade ended.
Towards the end of the 18th century a national campaign for abolition was gathering momentum. Liverpool merchants were vehemently opposed to this. They believed an end to the slave trade could well lead to the end of Liverpool as a major port. I'll conclude the story at our next turn