Many of the great institutions of London - from The National Gallery to Lloyd’s and the Bank of England  - were founded on the wealth gained from the slave trade but Britain can take some pride from its leading part in the campaign to abolish it.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.


The Bronze Woman

This is based on a poem of the same name by Guyana-born Cecile Nobrega, who lives in Stockwell. She campaigned for this memorial to black women for a decade and it sits beside the former air raid shelter used 60 years ago to house the first Caribbean immigrants to UK arriving on the SS Windrush.

Stockwell Memorial Garden SW9
Tube: Stockwell

Tomb of Harriet Long and Jacob Walker, St Mary’s

This headstone of 1841 marks the grave of both a Virginian, Harriet Long, and her former slave (in America) and servant (in England), Jacob Walker. The inscription highlights the legal differences between the two countries, while giving equality in death.

Hornsey High Street N8
Rail: Hornsey

London, Sugar & Slavery

The only permanent exhibition marking London’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, with a collection of artifacts, stories, art and music telling the story of the real people behind the history, debunking many myths along the way.

Museum in Docklands
West India Quay E14
Tel: 0870 444 3850
Tube: Canary Wharf

Robert Milligan

Near the Museum in Docklands is this statue to Milligan, chairman of the West India Dock Company which built the docks for the import of sugar, rum and coffee from the Caribbean. Opened in 1802, the docks were called ‘the largest feat of civil engineering since the building of the pyramids’.

West India Quay E14
Tube: Canary Wharf

Sailor - Nelson's Column

Not all Africans in Britain were slaves: on the south of Nelson’s Column is a relief of his death at Trafalgar in 1805. Beside the dying Nelson is a black crewman holding a musket and searching for the French sniper who shot the admiral. Nine West Indians and one African were on HMS Victory at the battle.

Trafalgar Square WC2
Tube: Charing Cross

Sir Henry Bartle Frere

In 1872, Sir Henry signed a treaty with the Sultan of Zanzibar abolishing the slave trade on the East Coast of Africa. In 1877, Frere was made High Commissioner for Southern Africa and sparked off the famous Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. This statue by Sir Thomas Brock RA was erected in 1888.

Victoria Embankment Gardens
Tube: Embankment

Buxton Memorial Fountain

This gothic fountain, standing near the Houses of Parliament, was erected to mark the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 and is dedicated to Thomas Fowell Buxton, William Wilberforce and other prominent abolitionists. it was restored in 2007 - the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank
Tube: Westminster

Elephant & Castle

Some 15 Lord Mayors of London were shareholders in the Royal Africa Company between 1660-1690, which made its fortune in slaves and later ivory. The company’s logo was an elephant with a castle, which became a popular name for pubs, one of which gave its name to this area of London.

Elephant & Castle
Tube: Elephant & Castle

Abney Park Cemetery

Joanna Vassa (1795-1857), wife of Rev Henry Bromley, who are both buried here, was the daughter of Olaudah Equiano. He was the first African to publish a novel in English, detailing his experiences of the Transatlantic slave trade.

Stoke Newington High Street N16
Rail: Stoke Newington