Harewood House Trust welcomes the creation of the Heirs of Slavery group, which includes David Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood, and other people whose ancestors profited from transatlantic slavery.
Harewood House Trust is an independent educational charitable trust established in 1986. The Trust works to maintain and develop Harewood House, Gardens and Grounds, the historic home of the Lascelles family, for the public’s benefit. The charity, which is also an accredited museum, uses all the funds raised from visitor admission to keep the site open, to engage with Harewood’s local communities and to run a diverse programme of exhibitions and events, which are enjoyed by over 250,000 people every year. Given that Harewood House was built using profits from the Transatlantic trade in enslaved people, this programme has for a long time strived to open up conversations about this history and its ongoing impact around the world. Harewood House Trust welcomes the Heirs of Slavery’s statement and hopes that the group’s creation will continue to progress these conversations.
Since the charity’s creation, Harewood House Trust has maintained links with the Lascelles family. This has included generous donations from the family and working collaboratively with them on several projects. Harewood House Trust is grateful for their support of the charity’s projects and looks forward to further collaborations in future. The Trust will continue its work to be open about Harewood’s history; to make Harewood a welcoming, inclusive place for all; and to raise awareness of the local, national and global movements that seek restorative justice for enslaved people and their descendants.
These projects include:
- The Trust’s Open History series highlights the site’s past with the exhibition Bertie Robinson: The Footman from St Vincent and Black History walks with Leeds-based Heritage Corner.
- In the Missing Portraits series, the Trust is creating exhibitions to accompany portraits of Black sitters, commissioned by the Earl and Countess of Harewood to diversify the House’s historic art collection. The first portrait is of Leeds community activist and founder of Leeds Carnival Arthur France and the second will be of the actor and writer David Harewood, whose ancestors were enslaved on Lascelles plantations.
- In 2007 Harewood hosted a wide range of events to commemorate the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The highlight was performances of Carnival Messiah in a big top near Harewood House. Carnival Messiah is inspired by the music of Handel’s Messiah, performed Caribbean Carnival style and featuring Carnival performers from Britain and from Trinidad.
A full list of Harewood House Trust’s projects that engage with the site’s history can be found here.