Our role in aboliton of the slave trade

PUBLISHED: 11:58 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:03 12 May 2010

IT does not seem to be widely known in Royston that there is a connection between the town and the law abolishing the slave trade, the 200th anniversary of which is about to be celebrated. Alfred Kingston in his A History of Royston refers in the chapter

IT does not seem to be widely known in Royston that there is a connection between the town and the law abolishing the slave trade, the 200th anniversary of which is about to be celebrated.

Alfred Kingston in his A History of Royston refers in the chapter on Some Royston Worthies to Joseph Beldam and the Beldam family, who lived at the larhe white house known as Thurnalls in Melbourn Street opposite the parish church.

Joseph Beldam was born in 1795, so he was too young to have served with William Wilberforce in 1807, but Kingston mentions that "his interests were, however, more inclined to literary work, and the legal aspects of certain public questions, such as the movement for the abolition of slavery in which he rendered good service."

I understand that he was active in further steps to end slavery.

Beldam died in 1866 and he and other members of his family are commemorated on tablets and windows on and in the parish church.

This reminds us that the abolition of the slave trade did not in itself end the practice of slavery.

The American Civil War of 1860-65 had the abolition of slavery as one of its consequences.

In other words much remained to be done - indeed, recent articles in the press have exposed the continued exploitation of numerous groups of unfortunates.

F JOHN SMITH

Royston


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