Stroud and Abolition Aftermath

Stroud and Abolition after 1834
(Derived from a reading of Slave Empire
How Slavery Built Modern Britain
Padraic X. Scanlon)

I’m sure you know the arch near Archway School in Stroud:

ERECTED TO COMMEMORATE THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY
IN THE BRITISH COLONIES THE FIRST OF AUGUST, A.D. MDCCCXXXIV

Four year later, as the author tells us:
‘On 1 August 1838, more than 800,000 people were finally free.
But their freedom was circumscribed’.

Apprenticeship not Freedom

Traineeship Training Period Studentship Novitiate Initiate
Probationary Period Trial Period Indentureship
Direction Discipline Guidance Lesson Preparation
Teaching Training Coaching Drilling Tutelage

Apprenticeship not Freedom

So perhaps I should say,
On 1 August 1838, more than 800,000 people were finally ‘free’.

British hypocrisy does not stop there, of course;
I’m not talking about cups of tea
Constantly sweetened with sugar from
Slaveholding Brazil, Cuba, and Louisiana,
Although we could;
But something more fundamental
In the growth of British economic power:
The global dominance of ‘King Cotton’,
The nineteenth century dominance
Of Manchester and Lancashire –
That could not have happened, of course, without
Slavery in the cotton growing southern states of the USA.

Stroud and Abolition after 1834
(Derived from a reading of Slave Empire
How Slavery Built Modern Britain
Padraic X. Scanlon)

I’m sure you know the arch near Archway School in Stroud:

ERECTED TO COMMEMORATE THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY
IN THE BRITISH COLONIES THE FIRST OF AUGUST, A.D. MDCCCXXXIV

Four year later, as the author tells us:
‘On 1 August 1838, more than 800,000 people were finally free.
But their freedom was circumscribed’.

Apprenticeship not Freedom

Traineeship Training Period Studentship Novitiate Initiate
Probationary Period Trial Period Indentureship
Direction Discipline Guidance Lesson Preparation
Teaching Training Coaching Drilling Tutelage

Apprenticeship not Freedom

So perhaps I should say,
On 1 August 1838, more than 800,000 people were finally ‘free’.

British hypocrisy does not stop there, of course;
I’m not talking about cups of tea
Constantly sweetened with sugar from
Slaveholding Brazil, Cuba, and Louisiana,
Although we could;
But something more fundamental
In the growth of British economic power:
The global dominance of ‘King Cotton’,
The nineteenth century dominance
Of Manchester and Lancashire –
That could not have happened, of course, without
Slavery in the cotton growing southern states of the USA.

read more

Stroud Valley Emigration

Emigration from Stroudwater in the 1830s and 40s
(‘Documentary Fiction’)
Foreword
My emigrant’s passage started in Bisley
Along a snowdropped Sunday footpath to the church;
The service had just ended –
I sauntered in through the open door,
And there to my surprise, in a glass case,
Lay a nineteenth century list of parish accounts,
With an italicised card:
‘cost to the Parish of Bisley of ‘emigrating’ 68 persons from the parish’,
Together with a bible open to the fronts-piece:
‘The Bible which was presented by the Reverend Thomas Keble who was the Vicar of Bisley when they and 66 others emigrated to Sydney, Australia in August 1837 [The Bible has been rebound].
Two other information cards lay partially hidden beneath the bible, I could pick out a few words, however:
‘hoped they might have a more prosperous life. They were equipped with clothes, transport and food to Bristol and Thomas Keble also presented each family with a Bible and a Prayer Book.’

Prologue the First: Mr Ricardo

EMIGRATION
CONSIDERED AS A MEANS OF RELIEF
IN THE PRESENT DISTRESSED
CONDITION OF THE POOR
IN THIS
NEIGHBOURHOOD

BY DAVID RICARDO, ESQ.

STROUD:
PRINTED BY J.P. BRISLEY
1838.
Price One Penny each, or Five Shillings per Hundred.
EMIGRATION

The distress of the Poor at all times forms a strong claim upon our sympathy and compassion – and though in some cases it may be brought on by their own idleness and improvidence, and therefore require the application of strong measures to check its growth … like a parent who chastises his child … But in the present condition of the Poor in this Neighbourhood … we have to encounter all the difficulties of a failing trade, and our inability to substitute any other means of independent labour … their patience and resignation is urging on their more influential neighbours to make efforts to assist them.

Emigration from Stroudwater in the 1830s and 40s
('Documentary Fiction')
Foreword
My emigrant’s passage started in Bisley
Along a snowdropped Sunday footpath to the church;
The service had just ended –
I sauntered in through the open door,
And there to my surprise, in a glass case,
Lay a nineteenth century list of parish accounts,
With an italicised card:
‘cost to the Parish of Bisley of ‘emigrating’ 68 persons from the parish’,
Together with a bible open to the fronts-piece:
‘The Bible which was presented by the Reverend Thomas Keble who was the Vicar of Bisley when they and 66 others emigrated to Sydney, Australia in August 1837 [The Bible has been rebound].
Two other information cards lay partially hidden beneath the bible, I could pick out a few words, however:
‘hoped they might have a more prosperous life. They were equipped with clothes, transport and food to Bristol and Thomas Keble also presented each family with a Bible and a Prayer Book.’

Prologue the First: Mr Ricardo

EMIGRATION
CONSIDERED AS A MEANS OF RELIEF
IN THE PRESENT DISTRESSED
CONDITION OF THE POOR
IN THIS
NEIGHBOURHOOD

BY DAVID RICARDO, ESQ.

STROUD:
PRINTED BY J.P. BRISLEY
1838.
Price One Penny each, or Five Shillings per Hundred.
EMIGRATION

The distress of the Poor at all times forms a strong claim upon our sympathy and compassion - and though in some cases it may be brought on by their own idleness and improvidence, and therefore require the application of strong measures to check its growth … like a parent who chastises his child … But in the present condition of the Poor in this Neighbourhood … we have to encounter all the difficulties of a failing trade, and our inability to substitute any other means of independent labour … their patience and resignation is urging on their more influential neighbours to make efforts to assist them. read more

Tory Culture Wars

I have developed a habit of reading as I walk,
And today on my way to walking football,
I read the report on the Tory Party Conference opening;

Now I am not one to get angry as a rule,
I’m usually quite cold under the collar,
But what I read affected my play today:
I knew that I needed to re-read the piece,
And gather my thoughts in studied contemplation,
Rather than gather a pass and beat the goalkeeper.

‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.’
Did Josef Goebbels really say this?
Even if he didn’t, it’s a handy definition of propaganda.

I have developed a habit of reading as I walk,
And today on my way to walking football,
I read the report on the Tory Party Conference opening;

Now I am not one to get angry as a rule,
I’m usually quite cold under the collar,
But what I read affected my play today:
I knew that I needed to re-read the piece,
And gather my thoughts in studied contemplation,
Rather than gather a pass and beat the goalkeeper.

‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.’
Did Josef Goebbels really say this?
Even if he didn’t, it’s a handy definition of propaganda.

read more

A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

Bartolome De Las Casas

I came across this book again after a gap of a fifty years after reading The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey. She recommended three books in The Guardian, one of which was A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolome De Las Casas. She described the book thus:

The book that changed my mind
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, by Bartolomé de las Casas. ‘If you want to know anything about the Caribbean, start here. It’s written by a Spanish priest who sought to spread Christianity to the natives. This is an account of the hideous crimes and barbarism he witnessed perpetrated by the Spanish on the indigenous Taino people. A horrifying account and yes, a game changer; witness testimony of how a region was Christianised. Should be compulsory reading.’

Here are a few horrifying selections chosen by me.
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
Bartolome De Las Casas
(Priestly Eye Witness Accounts)
PROLOGUE

‘ … atrocities which go under the name of “conquests”: excesses which, if no move is made to stop them, will be committed time and again, and which (given that the indigenous peoples of the region are naturally so docile) are of themselves iniquitous, tyrannical, contrary to natural, canon, and civil law, and are deemed wicked and are condemned and proscribed by all such legal codes. I therefore concluded that it would be a criminal neglect of my duty to remain silent about the enormous loss of life as well as the infinite number of human souls despatched to Hell in the course of such “conquests”, and so resolved to publish an account of a few such outrages (and they can only be a few out of the countless number of such incidents that I could relate) …’

A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

Bartolome De Las Casas

I came across this book again after a gap of a fifty years after reading The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey. She recommended three books in The Guardian, one of which was A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolome De Las Casas. She described the book thus:

The book that changed my mind
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, by Bartolomé de las Casas. ‘If you want to know anything about the Caribbean, start here. It’s written by a Spanish priest who sought to spread Christianity to the natives. This is an account of the hideous crimes and barbarism he witnessed perpetrated by the Spanish on the indigenous Taino people. A horrifying account and yes, a game changer; witness testimony of how a region was Christianised. Should be compulsory reading.’

Here are a few horrifying selections chosen by me.
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
Bartolome De Las Casas
(Priestly Eye Witness Accounts)
PROLOGUE

‘ … atrocities which go under the name of “conquests”: excesses which, if no move is made to stop them, will be committed time and again, and which (given that the indigenous peoples of the region are naturally so docile) are of themselves iniquitous, tyrannical, contrary to natural, canon, and civil law, and are deemed wicked and are condemned and proscribed by all such legal codes. I therefore concluded that it would be a criminal neglect of my duty to remain silent about the enormous loss of life as well as the infinite number of human souls despatched to Hell in the course of such “conquests”, and so resolved to publish an account of a few such outrages (and they can only be a few out of the countless number of such incidents that I could relate) …’ read more

Horns Road

Ye Prologue:

The late 19th and early 20th century
Saw a red brick suburban terrace street building boom,
All over the country and also in towns like Stroud, –
A walk along Horns Road to the Crown and Sceptre
Will exemplify that and take you down a wormhole of time.

More Prologue:

The late 19th and early 20th century
Also saw a bohemian near-worship of Pan,
As exemplified in the work of Arthur Machen;
A cultured mockery of shabby genteel pretensions
As in the Weedsmiths’ The Diary of a Nobody;
And also, an almost subliminal fear
Of the suburbs’ manic growth,
That fused together so many inchoate anxieties,
As articulated in Algernon Blackwood’s stories,
Where the ordinary, everyday red brick dwellings
Harbour dark secrets of sorcery and the occult;
As though the very utilities of mains pipes
Could transmit necromantic alchemical evil,
As well as water, gas and, eventually, electricity.

Last Prologue:

Of course, subsumed within this confusion,
Was also a nostalgia for the loss of landscape,
And a fear of the working-class and socialism.

Ye Prologue:

The late 19th and early 20th century
Saw a red brick suburban terrace street building boom,
All over the country and also in towns like Stroud, -
A walk along Horns Road to the Crown and Sceptre
Will exemplify that and take you down a wormhole of time.

More Prologue:

The late 19th and early 20th century
Also saw a bohemian near-worship of Pan,
As exemplified in the work of Arthur Machen;
A cultured mockery of shabby genteel pretensions
As in the Weedsmiths’ The Diary of a Nobody;
And also, an almost subliminal fear
Of the suburbs’ manic growth,
That fused together so many inchoate anxieties,
As articulated in Algernon Blackwood’s stories,
Where the ordinary, everyday red brick dwellings
Harbour dark secrets of sorcery and the occult;
As though the very utilities of mains pipes
Could transmit necromantic alchemical evil,
As well as water, gas and, eventually, electricity.

Last Prologue:

Of course, subsumed within this confusion,
Was also a nostalgia for the loss of landscape,
And a fear of the working-class and socialism.

read more

Punish the Poor

Punishing the Poor:
It’s for Their Own Good
Don’t’ You Know?
That’s Levelling Up.
Punishing the Poor.

So here I am in September 2021,
In the year of our Lord of Paupers’ Burials,
In the year of our Lord of Bet Fred,
In the year of our Lord of Universal Credit,
In the year of our Lord of Universal Cruelty,
In the year of our Lord of Cutting twenty Pounds,
Pragmatically doing my bit
For the Trussell Trust,
Which, I think, also feels ambivalent
About its work – as its website says:
‘94% of people at food banks
Are in destitution. This isn’t right.’

Punishing the Poor:
It’s for Their Own Good
Don’t’ You Know?
That’s Levelling Up.
Punishing the Poor.

So here I am in September 2021,
In the year of our Lord of Paupers’ Burials,
In the year of our Lord of Bet Fred,
In the year of our Lord of Universal Credit,
In the year of our Lord of Universal Cruelty,
In the year of our Lord of Cutting twenty Pounds,
Pragmatically doing my bit
For the Trussell Trust,
Which, I think, also feels ambivalent
About its work – as its website says:
‘94% of people at food banks
Are in destitution. This isn’t right.’
read more

Lancaster and the Slave Trade

What’s in a Name?
The Naming of Parts
The Grave at Sunderland Point

There’s an embarrassment in walking to the grave,
Out there at causewayed Sunderland Point,
From where ships once sailed the seven seas,
Now a desolate mudflat skyscape,
A couple of miles beyond the last post village –
But once all seascape hustle and bustle,
Shipshape and Lancaster slavery fashion.

There are still two pubs there in Overton,
The Globe and The Ship –
Cottages bear dates coeval with the slave trade.

The signposts curtly say: ‘Sambo’s Grave’,
It’s out there at windswept Sunderland Point;
The steps he climbed at the brewhouse are still there –
He climbed to pine and die in lonely isolation,
Or so the story has it;
The building – now a house – was up for sale,
When I visited in late summer 2021;
It’s history, like a name, silent.

What’s in a Name?
The Naming of Parts
The Grave at Sunderland Point

There’s an embarrassment in walking to the grave,
Out there at causewayed Sunderland Point,
From where ships once sailed the seven seas,
Now a desolate mudflat skyscape,
A couple of miles beyond the last post village -
But once all seascape hustle and bustle,
Shipshape and Lancaster slavery fashion.

There are still two pubs there in Overton,
The Globe and The Ship -
Cottages bear dates coeval with the slave trade.

The signposts curtly say: ‘Sambo’s Grave’,
It’s out there at windswept Sunderland Point;
The steps he climbed at the brewhouse are still there –
He climbed to pine and die in lonely isolation,
Or so the story has it;
The building – now a house – was up for sale,
When I visited in late summer 2021;
It’s history, like a name, silent. read more

Reimagining how the Railway Lies: Slavery Compensation

Reimagining how the Railway Lies

I live in Stroud,
Home of the arch commemorating the abolition of slavery,
An arch from 1834,
Standing near a comprehensive school,
By a busy main road to Gloucester;

We are rightly and justly proud of this in Stroud –
But, of course, quite a few owners of enslaved peoples
Lived around this town,
Not to mention Gloucester, Cheltenham,
Bath, Bristol and the rural south-west.

Slave owners received the equivalent in today’s values,
Of £17 billion;
Fully forty per cent of GDP in 1834;
Taxpayers only stopped paying the interest on this
In David Cameron’s premiership in 2015
(His family benefitted btw);

Reimagining how the Railway Lies

I live in Stroud,
Home of the arch commemorating the abolition of slavery,
An arch from 1834,
Standing near a comprehensive school,
By a busy main road to Gloucester;

We are rightly and justly proud of this in Stroud –
But, of course, quite a few owners of enslaved peoples
Lived around this town,
Not to mention Gloucester, Cheltenham,
Bath, Bristol and the rural south-west.

Slave owners received the equivalent in today’s values,
Of £17 billion;
Fully forty per cent of GDP in 1834;
Taxpayers only stopped paying the interest on this
In David Cameron’s premiership in 2015
(His family benefitted btw); read more

Saul Junction Stream of Consciousness and a Hidden Colonial Landscape

Saul

The waters that run past Saul Junction,
And the Stroudwater Navigation,
On the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal,
Flow past Phillpott’s Warehouse and Bakers Quay,
And on past Gloucester Quays and High Orchard,
Above a submerged heart of darkness.

For down there in the muddied depths,
Lie the hidden profits of Thomas Phillpotts,
The plantation owner and slave owner,
And the hidden profits of Samuel Baker,
Merchant and slave owner,
Down there with the shackles and manacles.

Down there in the submerged heart of darkness,
Sits their slavery compensation treasure chest,
The bounty that paid for Bakers Quay,
And the development of High Orchard.

Saul

The waters that run past Saul Junction,
And the Stroudwater Navigation,
On the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal,
Flow past Phillpott’s Warehouse and Bakers Quay,
And on past Gloucester Quays and High Orchard,
Above a submerged heart of darkness.

For down there in the muddied depths,
Lie the hidden profits of Thomas Phillpotts,
The plantation owner and slave owner,
And the hidden profits of Samuel Baker,
Merchant and slave owner,
Down there with the shackles and manacles.

Down there in the submerged heart of darkness,
Sits their slavery compensation treasure chest,
The bounty that paid for Bakers Quay,
And the development of High Orchard.
read more

Stroud and WW2

“AREA EIGHT”
IN THE WAR AGAINST HITLERISM
BEING AN ACCOUNT
OF THE CIVIL DEFENCE SEVICES AND A.R.P.
IN STROUD AND NAILSWORTH
By
P.R. SYMONDS
With a Preface by General Sir Hugh Elles, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.’
K.C.V.O.’ D.S.O.,
A Foreword by Bramwell Hudson, Esq., J.P.
And 34 Illustrations

“Your path of duty has been the way to glory
and amidst the glorious records of the war
the story of Civil Defense will take a high
place.”
H.M. THE KING
PUBLISHED BY
THE STROUD (Urban and Rural) AND NAILSWORTH (Urban)
DEFENCE COMMITTEE
R.D.C. Chambers, John Street, Stroud
1945

WAR

The first week of the war saw the arrival of 1,200 evacuees from Birmingham, the opening of public air raid shelters, the sandbagging of selected public buildings, the closure of cinemas, and the black-out, while ‘most people carried respirators, and there was a general air of expectancy.’

‘On Friday, November 10th, the first Preliminary Air Raid Warning, known as the “Yellow Warning,” was received at 11.20 a.m. Yellow Warnings were confidential warnings for A.R.P. Control, and were not for issue to the public, so that no sirens were sounded. On this occasion the warning message was passed up to a meeting of the R.D.C. Committee, that happened to be sitting, as several of the members were engaged in A.R.P. A year later, when the number of “Yellows” received amounted to an average of three a day, nobody would have even troubled to inform the Committee, but on this occasion (the first for this Area) the members picked up their respirators and left. (It is reported that the staff spent the rest of the morning gazing through windows at the sky watching for the approach of a German armada!)’

“AREA EIGHT”
IN THE WAR AGAINST HITLERISM
BEING AN ACCOUNT
OF THE CIVIL DEFENCE SEVICES AND A.R.P.
IN STROUD AND NAILSWORTH
By
P.R. SYMONDS
With a Preface by General Sir Hugh Elles, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.’
K.C.V.O.’ D.S.O.,
A Foreword by Bramwell Hudson, Esq., J.P.
And 34 Illustrations

“Your path of duty has been the way to glory
and amidst the glorious records of the war
the story of Civil Defense will take a high
place.”
H.M. THE KING
PUBLISHED BY
THE STROUD (Urban and Rural) AND NAILSWORTH (Urban)
DEFENCE COMMITTEE
R.D.C. Chambers, John Street, Stroud
1945

WAR

The first week of the war saw the arrival of 1,200 evacuees from Birmingham, the opening of public air raid shelters, the sandbagging of selected public buildings, the closure of cinemas, and the black-out, while ‘most people carried respirators, and there was a general air of expectancy.’

‘On Friday, November 10th, the first Preliminary Air Raid Warning, known as the “Yellow Warning,” was received at 11.20 a.m. Yellow Warnings were confidential warnings for A.R.P. Control, and were not for issue to the public, so that no sirens were sounded. On this occasion the warning message was passed up to a meeting of the R.D.C. Committee, that happened to be sitting, as several of the members were engaged in A.R.P. A year later, when the number of “Yellows” received amounted to an average of three a day, nobody would have even troubled to inform the Committee, but on this occasion (the first for this Area) the members picked up their respirators and left. (It is reported that the staff spent the rest of the morning gazing through windows at the sky watching for the approach of a German armada!)’ read more