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Caitlin Wall

The Lascelles Slavery Archive

3/11, Release and sale: Henry Frere to Edwin Lascelles, 1787. The image shows part of the schedule relating to a legal release and sale document between Henry Frere and Edwin Lascelles, detailing a list of enslaved people.

23 August marked the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Over the past week, we have shared a series of blogs written by local historians, researchers and artists to reflect on and explore what this means for Harewood and its wider communities.

Much of the historical research featured in these articles draws heavily upon the material contained within the Lascelles Slavery Archive held by the Borthwick Institute of Archives in York. This unique collection of documents provides the basis for much of our knowledge and understanding about Harewood’s links to the West Indies, documenting the Lascelles family’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th century. 

The archive contains papers relating to the Lascelles family’s business transactions as sugar merchants and money lenders, such as accounts, administrative papers and correspondence with debtors. There are also many documents relating to the family’s plantations in Barbados, Jamaica, Tobago and Grenada, as well as the enslaved individuals in their possession. Due to the incredibly fragile and unstable condition of the documents, many of which had been exposed to poor historic storage conditions, a HLF funded conservation project took place in 2007 to ensure their long-term survival. 

To facilitate the continuing research and analysis of this important chapter of Harewood’s history, a searchable catalogue of the Lascelles Slavery Archive has been made available online and all documents are available to view by appointment at the Borthwick Institute.  

Click here to find out more about the Lascelles Slavery Archive. Please check the Borthwick Institute’s website for opening and access information.