Scottish Archive Network Exhibitions

Other Exhibitions
Slavery and Glasgow
Slave Owners
Tobacco Lords
Slave Conditions
Anti Slavery

Glasgow City Council
Black History Month - Glasgow



Slavery and Glasgow

This exhibition on Slavery and Glasgow is part of a programme of events taking place for Black History Month. It aims to showcase the collections held by Glasgow City Archives and Special Collections which relate to black history in general and slavery in particular. This online exhibition is a version of a larger exhibition, which can be seen at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow in the month of October 2002.

There is evidence of Glasgow’s 19th-century prosperity everywhere in the city centre. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common for the younger sons of wealthy Scots to migrate to areas such as the West Indies and Virginia in the hope of making a fortune to bring back to Scotland.

Many Glaswegians are aware of the city’s connection with the tobacco trade, but how many are aware of Glasgow’s connection with the slave-owning sugar plantations in Jamaica and the West Indies and with slavery in the tobacco-producing areas of America such as Virginia?

Families from Glasgow and the surrounding area such as the Smiths of Jordanhill, the Stirlings of Keir, the Cunninghams of Craigend, the Glassfords of Dougalston and the Speirs of Elderslie were heavily involved in the sugar and tobacco industries. There are sources in Glasgow City Archives and Special Collections for all of these families.

Staff in Glasgow City Archives and Special Collections are actively seeking records relating to Glasgow’s black history to add to their collections. Do you know of any organisations, businesses or individuals who may have records they would like to deposit? If you do and would like to discuss the potential deposit, please contact the Duty Archivist.



Anti-Slavery emblems from a volume of poetry in Glasgow City Libraries
Map of Virginia, 1636
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Engraving of the Broomielaw, Glasgow,19th century
Engraving of the Broomielaw, 19th Century
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Tobacco ships at Port Glasgow, mid-1760s
Tobacco ships at Port Glasgow, mid-1760s
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Glassford family portrait
Glassford portrait
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