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The Legacies of British Slave-ownership project developed at UCL in two phases between 2009 and 2016: (1) the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project and (2) the structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833. Since then the work has been embedded in the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership jointly funded by UCL and the Hutchins Center for African-American Research at Harvard. What we have done is to (a) document the ways in which those receiving compensation for the loss of their ‘property’, i.e., the enslaved, at the point of the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean in 1833-34, figured in British society in subsequent decades; and (b) examine the ownership of plantations and estates in the Caribbean between the 1760s and 1833. In this second phase we are also documenting the connections and place of owners, especially the so-called ‘absentees’, in British society. This paper will discuss the claims we make for the importance of slave-owners in the shaping of British society and also discuss the conceptual and methodological issues of the research as a digital project.
The project website is at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs
Keith McClelland was co-founder at UCL of the original Legacies of British Slave-ownership project (2009-2012), co-director of the Structure and Significance of British Caribbean Slave-ownership 1763-1833 project (2013-2015) and now works part-time in the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership as the Digital Humanities specialist.