Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Update 23rd December - Education, Education...

The prevalence of modern slavery has recently been thrown into sharp focus with yet more high profile discoveries that sit alongside the many more invisible ones occurring quietly in the background.

The very exploitative and criminal nature of slavery means that the true scope of the problem is like shifting sand and much of it is down to estimates. There are thought to be 35 million people in slavery worldwide and up to 13,000 in the UK alone based on analysis recently conducted for the UK government. However, for some time, academics have been trying to make the facts behind the statistics more concrete and reliable using various indicators such as that used in the recently published Global Slavery Index.

Monday, 24 November 2014

23rd Nov - One year of the William Wilberforce Monument Fund


Today marks the first anniversary of the creation of the William Wilberforce Monument Fund. When we started, slavery was still in the shadows; the past was barely mentioned and the volume on the issues surrounding modern day slavery had not even reached a murmur in the public’s consciousness. Since then, critically acclaimed films covering the subject such as 12 Years a Slave and Belle have been released, the UK government has shown an increasing interest in modern day slavery and numerous newspaper headlines have documented incidents of slavery here and across the world. What a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Update - 29th October: Modern Slavery In Industry


At the time of the transatlantic slave trade, slaves were looked upon as a different species for whom the populous could feel no sympathy. Today we are not living in a world where slavery is considered to be the norm; we all know different. But, as a wider issue, this fight should be addressed in industry to cut out the ability of individuals to acquire financial gain through the exploitation of others.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Campaign update - 5th October

Hull City Council’s City Realm team have showcased their vision for the city at pop-up exhibitions in the main shopping centres. This has been with the purpose of getting public views on moving the monument. We have been told that their decision will be made public soon.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Freedom Festival Q&A - 7th September

We were proud to be at the Freedom Festival in Hull this weekend since the inspiration behind the annual event is William Wilberforce himself. We would like to thank the visitors to our stall over the weekend and we felt supported and encouraged by the comments you gave us.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

From then to now - 26th August

In the early 20th Century, it was thought that the hard fought steps taken by the abolitionists and the enslaved Africans towards abolition, and the eventual emancipation, of the Transatlantic slave spelled the beginning of the end of such inhumanity. However, the insidious nature of slavery in all its forms proved to be resistant to those efforts. This was recognised by the International Labour Organisation and prompted them to define forced labour in 1930 as, “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty”.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

"Slavery is closer than you think" - 31st July

Today has seen the launch of the Modern Slavery campaign (modernslavery.co.uk) to raise awareness and help victims of slavery. This reinforces the aim of the William Wilberforce Monument Fund to not only “light the monument” but also to “light the message”. Our message is that slavery exists around the world today and the UK is not immune to it. Our campaign is homegrown and was started to remember past achievements of this city and start a conversation about current issues around slavery.

Wilberforce and his fellow abolitionists around the world started us off along the road but somewhere along the line, their efforts have been undermined and it is for each of us to do what we can to support their efforts and make them count.  

It is difficult to admit that slavery exists in this country and yet it does. The Human Trafficking Foundation suggests that more than 20,000 people are working in slavery in the UK. In this country the most common forms are in agriculture, brothels and domestic roles. The estimated 29 million people still enslaved around the world tells us that there is much to be done and that there is a moral call to do something.

Help us in our campaign to light the monument and draw attention to the fact that Hull was instrumental in starting the path to abolition, and that Hull recognises the need for the world to do more to realise the Wilberforce ethos of freedom and fairness.

Past blog entries (21st April and 8th June) mention issues around the Modern Slavery Bill but more than ever as we become more informed, it becomes imperative that the politicians play their part and move to get this bill through parliament before the next general election.

Please continue to support us - all fundraising is welcome. Homage to the Emancipator, the book about how the monument was built and moved is now in Waterstones in Hull and at the University branch, priced £5.99. Go out, get yourself a copy and support the campaign!

Image taken from the Tumblr page of California-based anti-slavery organisation Made In A Free World.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Onwards and upwards - 15th July

As a campaign that started at the end of November with the aim of raising awareness of the work of William Wilberforce and the abolitionists, we are pleased that the conversation is gaining its own momentum with the proposed move of the monument. Those unfamiliar with Wilberforce will now ask who he was and what he stood for and take a keener interest in the monument itself. In a previous blog entry (23rd March) we challenged many people to try and locate the plaque on the ground at its previous site.

Illuminating the monument was our second aim for which we hoped to raise funds through fundraising activities, donations, heritage grants and arts funding. The announcement last week does not change this as the aim is the same, only the location may be different. We still need to raise the money and public support is still meaningful. Our target for the first year was to raise £5,000 through fundraising and donations. This currently stands at just over £3,000 and we hope to meet our target by the end of the year.

Ordinary local people helped raise money to build the monument and so did those who attended public meetings held in Leeds, Sheffield, Halifax, Doncaster, Beverley, Huddersfield, Ripon, Driffield, Richmond and Whitby together with the wealthy and landed gentry. Money was tight even in 1834 because there was a rival bid to build York School for the Blind as the preferred ‘monument’ to commemorate the work of Wilberforce. York had a higher profile than Hull and so most of the money was redirected there which made the Wilberforce monument even harder to fund (You can learn more in our book Homage to the Emancipator).

Whether the monument is moved or not, the contribution of the public will be small compared to the overall cost of the project. However, to honour the massive achievements and vision that Wilberforce realised will be immensely worthwhile. If you take a look at the monument, you will see that it proudly proclaims “erected by voluntary subscription”. This sense of achievement would be reflected in each individual who contributes to lighting the monument beyond 2017 knowing that they helped to make it happen. Some things only happen when someone takes the first step, and that’s what this campaign did. Let’s make this a joint effort.

Also this week, we'd like to say thank you to Wilberforce College for hosting us during their open day this week. Thank you to the young man who came to our stand and, when asked who Wilberforce was, said, “Yes, he was a top lad” - we couldn’t agree with him more!

Please continue to support us and help us to raise funds.

Image taken from the Hull City Council website.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Proposed plans for Hull city centre

The William Wilberforce Monument Fund’s original endeavour was to light the monument in its current location on Wilberforce Drive, however the Fund is pleased to support Hull City Council in their efforts to regenerate the city.

If as part of this regeneration the Wilberforce Monument is relocated close to its original site and is also lit, then one of our aims will be achieved.  The relocation of the monument to a more prominent site will bring a greater visibility and interest that will lend itself to an understanding of the historic endeavours of Wilberforce and the other abolitionists.

We are in an age where the Wilberforce legacy is as relevant today as it was when slavery was first raised into the spotlight over two centuries ago. The move will serve as a reminder of the issues of modern day slavery especially in light of the current debate around the new bill.

Please support us by purchasing our book about the history of the monument, Homage to the Emancipator.

Image donated by Ian Parkinson of his Uncle Harry out on top of the Wilberforce monument, as it was being moved from its original site.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Slavery as 'secret history' - 6th July update

Slavery as 'secret history'

Some aspects of slavery can be a ‘secret history’ hidden from gaze unless you are curious enough to seek it out - a task made slightly more accessible by recent films. There appears to be no such shyness at proclaiming the strength and reach of the British Empire with its many colonies, but rarely are we encouraged to examine the concept of Britannia - at least not beyond the notion of Britain as a supreme power.

Our resistance to acknowledge unpleasantness is long standing and apparent even in the time of Wilberforce. This invariably made the battle to affect change a difficult one for himself and his fellow abolitionists. In the early beginnings of the abolitionist movement, Granville Sharp made headway by winning the Somersett case that allowed Africans brought to these shores to rest in the assurance that they would not be kidnapped and resold. This also became a means of keeping the business end of slavery away from here.

This however had the side effect of allowing people to pretend things that happen ‘out there’ are abstract and do not impact over here. But it did and it still does; only now it is no longer just ‘over there’. For those of us who travel (particularly in larger cities) it may be that the fingers of slavery have touched some of the people we have glided past without a second glance. The reality of modern day slavery may be closer to you than you will ever know, and if not through the people in our vicinity, we have been unwitting participants by eating itwearing it, or using something linked with it.

Modern day slavery is pernicious and unlike that of the past it holds little preference for race or colour; it is all embracing and inclusive. It is wider than we would like to imagine and this time the trick is not to pretend it doesn’t exist. That is the reason behind this campaign.

Update - 6th July

Wilberforce and his fellow abolitionists here and abroad started the journey towards freedom from enslavement, a journey that is yet to be completed. We see raising awareness as a key part of understanding the past and as a means of making a greater impact on the present. We are therefore delighted to hear that Biggin Hill Primary School in Hull will have Wilberforce as a subject on their curriculum as part of their Settlements topic which looks at Hull and famous people of the city. This will take them towards 2017 as a group of young experts! We will continue to encourage more educational establishments to do the same.

This week also sees us release a new book about the Wilberforce Monument, Homage to the Emancipator. This is the first book on the monument and has been researched and written by one of our trustees, Dr Carolyn Conroy, an art historian. You can read the synopsis on the author’s page and buy a copy through the link on the right side of the blog or by emailing us.

This week's image is a Frith's Series postcard of the Technical College in Hull, now known as Hull College, with the monument visible in front of it.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Walk Total Update - 22nd June

We have nearly arrived at the final total for the sponsored walk that we held on 31st May. The absolute total may take a few weeks more, but to answer a much asked question, the money raised will exceed £1,151.

We would like to say huge thank you to those who participated and for the many well wishers and sponsors (including 65 Cars of Hull and the staff at Hull College). Thank you to Steve for organising the event - he hopes to do another section of the walk next year.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Slavery and Corporate Responsibility - 8th June

Following the abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807, the Slave Trade Acts between 1824 and 1873 made slavery a criminal offence. From then however, there was no direct adjustment to legislation until 2009 when the government felt the need to clarify that holding a person in slavery was an offence so as to give protection to those victims of forced labour. There was already clear legislation around offences such as false imprisonment, blackmail, assault and sexual offences in addition to employment legislation, including offences relating to working hours, minimum wages and health and safety at work, yet no laws explicitly about slavery.

However as human trafficking is currently the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world, it is clear that something else is needed and so the current Modern Slavery bill is timely. Such victims may be men, women and children who are often exploited for sex and labour. The most common areas of trade tend to be within hospitality, food, agricultural and manufacturing industries. Yet the discovery of victims isn’t the end of the ordeal; they become victims of a different kind relating to issues around immigration, prostitution, identity theft, custody, homelessness and poverty.

In 2005 Brazil launched the National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor, one of the first countries to do so. Together with the International Labor Organisation (ILO), it led the way in its attempt to monitor and eradicate the use of slave labour in its supply chain for commercial products, taking action at a national and international level. Their objectives were not just merely placing sanctions on those trades exploiting slave labour but it was also about promoting better working conditions, social integration and raising awareness about those who were vulnerable to being enticed into slave labour. With the current social unrest surrounding  the impending World Cup, views on the achieved level of success is up for debate but nevertheless with this initiative, the onus was placed on companies to monitor, implement and publicise their efforts.

Governments around the world are waking up to these issues and many countries are beginning to realise the need to address corporate social responsibility through legislation. Although increasingly companies are being urged to disclose the actions they are taking to comply with efforts to directly or indirectly eliminate human trafficking, this is a slow process and one many are urging our government to take in the next Modern Slavery Bill. Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale is to ask in the House of Lords on 12 June what action the UK Government is intending to take to combat human trafficking and modern slavery as a further sign of the increasing public interest.

In America some large companies are beginning to join the ‘Ethical Trade Initiative’ (ETI) with the purpose of establishing codes of practice to ensure that their products are not tainted by human trafficking, child labour or slavery. It is the role of responsible governments around the world to foster such a standard internationally; something which one hopes the new role of Commissioner will do following the lengthy process before the new bill is committed into law.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A thank you!

Thank you to those who did the Wilberforce Trail and Stages 1 and 2 of the Wilberforce Way on Saturday.

Your support is deeply appreciated.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Reopening the conversation on slavery - 19th May

The film 12 Years a Slave has been instrumental in reopening the conversation about slavery, as will the soon to be released Belle, especially as they both have British directors. This attention is welcome as it starts to edge the door open to the taboo subject of slavery, a story never told and wiped from much of the historical recollections when expressing the greatness of the empire and Britain’s industrial progress.

But take a look around, the wealth of the nation and its tangible benefits cannot be seen without the ghosts of slaves and that is what Wilberforce recognised then. This sentiment is acknowledged at Bristol’s Industrial Museum in asking us to remember "the countless African men, women and children whose enslavement brought prosperity to Bristol through the African slave trade" (as referenced in John Oldfield's Chords of Freedom).

It is impossible to register the scale of the task abolitionists were faced with as they fought against a mindset that rationalised slavery on the grounds of economics and religion. There was an emphatic belief by many that non-whites were an inferior race and there was no moral case to answer. It was acceptable to view another human being as property.

A supporter of the campaign recently suggested that the level of resistance to abolition might be likened to a modern day idea that we should stop using the Internet. Imagine the hue and cry, the resistance, the many reasoned arguments to maintain the status quo and the ease in which it fits into people's lives. Is this the mountain Wilberforce had to climb? If so it is no wonder he and his fellow abolitionists took years to dismantle the system. It is no wonder that on the plantations many risked what little they had for liberty.

Both past and present day slavery suffers from the issue of being hidden or unrecognised, with people trying to pretend it never happened.  Slavery is viewed with disbelief, creating the three wise monkey effect of seeing no evil, hearing no evil, speaking no evil. Yet it is happening; the past and present needs to come into the light. We should perhaps be guided even today by the motto on Thomas Clarkson’s memorial that states ‘Remember them that are in bonds’.

These past couple of weeks has seen us gaining support and encouragement from the Royal Greenwich Maritime museum, Wilberforce House and Wilberforce College. We would like to also thank tenfootcity and Hull Daily Mail's Flashback for highlighting our campaign in their publications.

If you would like to join the Wilberforce Walk (see previous blog entry), please contact me via email to register your interest. Please show your generosity by donating or sponsoring us through our Virgin Money Giving page.

Image taken from http://www.aplvblog.com/2012/12/the-impossible-task.html.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Update - 5th May 2014

We have three events in the near future. Dr Carolyn Conroy, a Fund trustee, will be giving a talk entitled: ‘Homage to the Emancipator’: Hull and the William Wilberforce Monument at Hull College on Monday 12th May. There will also be an additional talk by the assistant curator of Wilberforce House on Thursday 15th May entitled ‘The Man Behind the Campaign’. All are welcome, however if you are an outside guest please email me first so that we can anticipate your attendance.

On Saturday 31st May, some supporters of the Fund are walking the Wilberforce Trail around the Old Town, and then Stages 1 and 2 of the Wilberforce Way from the Monument to Beverley Minster to raise funds for the campaign.

Anyone wanting to help to raise funds can join us. You can:

  • Complete the Wilberforce Trail - 1.6 miles  (1 hr)
  • Continue to Stage 1 of the Wilberforce Way (to Dunswell) - 8.4 miles (3.5 hrs)
  • Do the full walk 12.4 miles (5 hrs) by continuing to Stage 2 (from Dunswell to Beverley Minster)

The start time will be 9.30 am at the Monument in Wilberforce Drive, Hull.

The route of the walk follows the Wilberforce Trail around the Old Town. The Wilberforce Way starts at the Monument, follows the Trans-Pennine Trail towards Stoneferry Road, the River Hull up to Dunswell, crossing Beverley Pastures before eventually reaching Beverley Minster via Hull Road, Beckside and Flemingate.

A detailed route guide is being prepared and anyone interested in joining us please contact wilberforcemonumentfund@gmail.com for further details.

We would ask that anyone joining us commits to raising a minimum of £25 for the Monument Fund.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

27th April update: Wilberforce - One of Many

This week, we have continued to network and make connections with interested individuals who are keen to be a part of this campaign. We are encouraged by those well wishers who see education as a means of avoiding repetition of past mistakes and enlightening people on the reasons for the disbursement of different nationalities around the world.

We hope soon to be closer to answering the often asked question “how much will it cost to light the monument?” The feasibility study is continuing in the background and we hope to have a report back soon.

For this week’s image we have created a ‘Wordle’ using the names of some prominent abolitionists. It is important to remember that William Wilberforce was just one of many people trying to right the wrongs of slavery.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Background to the draft Modern Slavery Bill

This week has seen widened coverage of the draft Modern Slavery Bill that we referenced a few months ago in our 8th December update. Interested parties are keen to ensure that it is fit for purpose. The general consensus is that there still need to be some amendments made to the draft to ensure that the four ‘p’s’ of protection, prevention, prosecution and punishment are covered, and that the victims involved are sufficiently protected.

To provide some background to this issue, on 22nd October Fiona Mactaggart MP made a request to the Backbench Business committee for a debate on modern day slavery (supported by Frank Field MP). The debate then took place on 5th December prior to Theresa May’s release of a White Paper detailing the plan for the Modern Slavery Bill on 16th December.

This debate transcended party politics and provided evidence of exploitation countrywide. Some of the issues brought forward included stiffer penalties for traffickers, better victim support and seizing of assets to compensate victims and fund investigations.

It was suggested that for this Bill to work there needs to be a better infrastructure in place, including a Commissioner (already proposed), EU enforcement and a system to make organisations accountable.

In 2012, according to Diana Johnson MP, 2,200 people were trafficked into the UK but some were trafficked out. Michael Connarty MP and Sir John Randall MP relayed incidences of people being trafficked, for example to Sweden within the construction industry and to Italy and France for prostitution. Whilst it is true that police, social workers, health workers and immigration staff must be vigilant, so must we all.

Andrew Selous MP reported that Bedford Borough Council addressed public awareness through prompt cards handed out around the area asking the question “Is the person you are with a victim of Modern Slavery?”

It gives a few questions for people to consider:

  • Do they know their home/work address?
  • Is there expression of fear, distrust or anxiety?
  • Are their individual or group movements restricted by others?
  • Do they have limited contact with family and/or friends?
  • Is money deducted from their salary for food and/or accommodation?
  • Are their passports/documents held by someone else?

It then prompts those that are concerned to contact the police. There is also information about local charities and safeguarding teams. He suggests that this is a good approach to raising awareness for councils nationwide.

Image credit: www.catholic.org.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The need for context in historical events

Marble Hill House in Twickenham (picture from the English Heritage website)

Too often history is taught as isolated events. This may be through necessity but it often leaves subjects floundering and out of context. How many of us realise, for example, that the slave trade dragged on in the background whilst we were told about the industrial revolution, the French revolution, The Boston Tea Party, The American War of Independence, Cook’s explorations and other events, all as discrete events as though nothing else was happening in the world at that time?

We enjoy the writings of authors such as Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Robert Burns, William Wordsworth and William Blake, and music by composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, yet we’re often oblivious to the times that they lived in. Our admiration of great country houses is for the lovely proportions and the aesthetics of the Georgian facade and many forget that both the exterior and interior opulence of such places were the result of some uglier truth.

Subjects in this vein of interest are being explored by University College London in two projects under the umbrella The Legacies of British Slave-ownership. The project is interested in investigating slave-owners to understand how slavery shaped British history, summarising the subject on their website:

“Colonial slavery shaped modern Britain and we all still live with its legacies. The slave-owners were one very important means by which the fruits of slavery were transmitted to metropolitan Britain.”

The UCL database allows you to see the links to slavery under different headings and we will add more links under our ‘About Slavery’ tab.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Campaign update - 6th April

This week, we have had discussions with Wilberforce House and the University of Hull. We met the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement at the university who has endorsed the campaign and will support us. This is particularly important to us as education plays a key role in the campaign and together with WISE, the university has a worldwide reputation.

This week has seen some progress towards establishing a cost for illuminating the monument. A feasibility study is now underway and the outcome of this will be in a few weeks time. Once the initial ideas have been outlined, we will consult widely to gain as many views as possible. This is a community project that will need you, the public, to pull together so make your goodwill count and donate if you can.

We’re very grateful to the management at The Deep this week who have made a prize contribution to our future fundraising efforts.

Anti-Slavery International have sent us some useful material which we can use for the educational side of the campaign so our thanks go to them for sending this through - the links to some of their online resources are in About Slavery.

Finally, in focusing on the educational aspect of slavery as well as the fundraising side of things, we will now be including posts to inform, as well as providing updates on lighting the monument. The first of these will be posted shortly. Please see the About Slavery tab for other general links.

The above image of Princes Dock was found on http://hulldockbargeworld.weebly.com/princes-dock.html.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Campaign update - 30th March

We were given the opportunity this week to present at Hull's Primary Headteachers and Local Authority Meeting to make teachers aware of the campaign. We have asked them to create the space in their (very full) curriculum to allow children to engage with activities and fundraising so that they can celebrate William Wilberforce, this famous son of Hull. We feel it would be valuable for children to be involved in the campaign throughout the 3 years leading up to 2017, providing a memorable learning experience during their young lives. It is our aim to interest people of all ages in this campaign.

We are building up a resource base of links for interested individuals and schools to tap into. Excellent examples of education packs can be found under the section ‘About Slavery’ such as the story of the slave ship Zong and issues about contemporary slavery.

You will find most of the links on the About Slavery page but other links are also placed under the relevant tab headings. We would welcome any offers of links, attachments, scans, teaching packs or hard copies of materials - please get in touch via email.

Our gratitude this week goes to Hornsea School and Language College for a donation from their own charity funds to support us.  You can donate right here on the website, or through our Easy Fundraising page whilst doing your online shopping.

Image credit: Advertisement for Slave Sale, Charleston, South Carolina, 1760; Image Reference H021 as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Campaign update - 23rd March

After a patient wait for authentication, we have been granted charity status by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (no: EW10923). This is fantastic news, as it enables us to claim Gift Aid on all eligible donations.

William Wilberforce’s educational history includes Hull Grammar School, Pocklington School and St John’s College, Cambridge. We are delighted to receive a donation of £500 from St John’s College, who have kindly contributed to our campaign after hearing about us. We thank them for their generosity.

We are working very hard with various agencies to arrive at a projected cost for the project as we know this is a question on many people’s lips so please bear with us. We hope to have this information in the next few weeks.

Also this week, our thanks go to the Hull Civic Society, and to Hull College Student Union and their Enrichment Team for sharing ideas for fundraising. Please contact us via email with any fundraising ideas. Thanks also to the individuals who have pledged their support in person and via Twitter; you know who you are!

We now have a date for our sponsored Wilberforce Way walk, click here to find out more. The Wilberforce Way walk is a 57 mile, two day trek over 31st May and 1st June, which will take you through the important local locations in Wilberforce’s life. If 57 miles is too long for you, there are 13 shorter walks which all form part of the Wilberforce Way walk. Please email to join in or offer sponsorship.

The above image is the plaque commemorating where the Wilberforce monument was originally placed. For those who visit Hull, see if you can find it!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Campaign update - 16th March

In 1789, for the first time to many, the horrific facts of slavery were laid bare by William Wilberforce in a Parliamentary speech where he finished by saying "having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.". Today we have the past and present at our fingertips, so those wise words resonate still. Let us get people talking - help light up the message.

We are on our way. We had a very successful first fundraising event, a quiz night held at Cottingham Parks Golf Club. This raised £689 which is a fantastic amount and demonstrates the support and good will of a community that is keen to make this campaign a success.

We would like to thank many people for their efforts. The role of honour is as follows:

Chris and Gerry Smyth, John Wiles and Chris Gray from Cottingham Parks Golf & Leisure Club, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Hull College, Jo Pearson of Floral Studio, BBC Hull (Look North and Radio Humberside), MWJ (Hull) Ltd, Sutcliffe Consulting Engineers Ltd, Sally Pilmoor, Andy Marsters and Thomas Burrows.

We are deeply grateful to all who attended and those who were there in spirit!

We have also had a generous donation from Best Western Hotels and other individuals who have heard about the campaign and want to support us.

Current ideas for future fundraising events include a mini-marathon, a ceilidh, a dance-a-thon, a grand meal and the Wilberforce Way walk. If you can help to make any of these happen, please get in touch with your suggestions and any other ideas.

The above image is a diagram of the 'Brookes' slave ship - a diagram used to illustrate the brutal reality of how slaves were transported during the Middle Passage.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Campaign update - 9th March

This week we are delighted to have been granted the use of Hull City Council's Armorial Bearings, the Three Coronets. This is indeed a great honour and one which we are extremely grateful to the Council for allowing us to use.

We are also honoured that that the Mayor of Hull has agreed to be our third patron in addition to Lemn Sissay MBE and William Wilberforce. This is a glowing endorsement of our efforts for the benefit of the city as a whole.

A huge thank you to all of you who have given us fundraising ideas and possibilities, please keep them coming.

Image taken from Kenneth Elsom's Postcards of Hull, where it is described as: 'A postcard of Hull depicting Monument Bridge, c.1910. The towering monument of Wilberforce stands within a few yards of the place where Hull’s gibbet was once situated. Upon this, felons and robbers were hanged.'

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Campaign update - 2nd March

Did you know that after the abolition of the Slave Trade Bill was defeated by Parliament in 1790s, many people boycotted sugar to support the anti-slavery movement and over 300,000 people joined in. This boycott was repeated in the 1820s and 30s, when even more supporters refused to buy slave-grown sugar and stopped shopping at those shops that sold it. How many of us could give up sugar now? Surely even those who chose to give something up for Lent would struggle! Remarkably, Emma, one of our colleagues, is attempting to do just that, and is on day 12 of her quest.

This week, we went to see an outstanding performance of Benjamin Zephaniah's Refugee Boy, adapted for the stage by Lemn Sissay, our patron. It was a thought-provoking performance of an issue so often presented in a negative light by the modern media.

Thank you for your continued support. You can donate to the campaign here.

Main sculpture image taken from 'Adventures of Der Kosmonaut' blog, where it is described as follows: Underwater sculpture in Grenada, in honor of our African Ancestors who were thrown overboard the slave ships during the Middle Passage of the African Holocaust.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Campaign update - 24th February

This week, we attended an interesting public meeting by the City of Culture bid team about how Hull won the bid. It was well attended with a lively question and answer session. Such meetings are useful to gain more understanding of the context in which our campaign can fit in.

We have been exploring different means of raising funds for the campaign. We were able to attend a Cash for Kids event with Viking FM over the weekend; a worthy cause which helps us to gain ideas on how to put on fundraising events.

The campaign team are looking forward to seeing the play Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah, adapted for stage by our patron Lemn Sissay at Hull Truck at the end of the week.

Last week we mentioned that we had engaged with Transformational Logistics, a group interested in promoting ethical business practice in emerging and developing markets. This week we're featured on their website - you can read the piece here.

We are making final arrangements for our first fundraising event, a quiz night in Cottingham on Friday 14th March. Tickets are still available, so please pre-book your tickets by emailing us (tickets are not available on the door).

All ideas are welcome, so please make suggestions for a fundraising event, do something or donate because every pound counts towards this joint effort.

The image is from the front cover of Christopher Ketchell's 1997 book, Postcards of Old Hull (The Hutton Press, Beverley).

Monday, 17 February 2014

Campaign update - 17th February

As well as relighting the monument, this campaign has taken an increasing focus on issues of slavery not just in the past, but sadly in the present as well. Figures from the International Labour Organisation estimate that over 20 million people remain in slavery today and such shocking figures show that slavery is not just an event of yesteryear but is a very current problem for many people today.

We continue to focus on relighting the monument, but there remains an emphasis on the surrounding issues of slavery and equality.

Wider Discussions

This week we have continued discussions with other like-minded groups in order to work together and increase the prominence of our campaign. We have engaged with members of the And Albert Foundation who are working with Transformational Logistics to help communities by turning historic slave-trade routes into modern day ethical trade corridors.

We have also shared ideas with Hull Identity and are working with the Hull Freedom Centre. As a collective we believe that their philosophies are linked to our campaign in theme. We're hoping to work together with such initiatives to hopefully give us all a 'louder voice'.

The Monument

In our attempt to understand the options available to us in terms of finding the most effective and appropriate way of lighting the monument, we have had conversations with Hull BID who were instrumental in lighting Holy Trinity Church. We've also spoken to officers from Hull City Council.

We will consult lighting specialists to gain a firm understanding of costs and likely future maintenance in achieving the most effective lighting option. The monument is listed and the possibility of using sustainable methods will not be overlooked.


Two supporters of the Fund are planning to raise money through sponsorship by walking the Wilberforce Way this summer, a 57 mile, two day walk that starts at the Deep and ends at York Minster, passing many of the places associated with the life of William Wilberforce.
If you are interested in joining our two intrepid walkers and raising sponsorship for the Fund, please contact us by email. If 57 miles is too long for you, you can contact us for details on shorter walks.

Thank you for your continued support. You can donate here, like us on Facebook here, and follow us on Twitter here.

Image is from Elsom, Kenneth. F. Postcards of Hull (The Avenue Press, n.d.), p.43. “Queen’s Garden’s, Hull. C.1936. The former site of Queen’s dock. The in-filling of the dock took four years. The gardens were laid out at a cost of £200,000.” 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Update - 9th February

We have had some significant media interest this week, enjoying a feature article in the Hull Daily Mail on Tuesday and a piece on Calendar News on Thursday evening. If you didn't catch them, you can read the Mail piece here, and view the news report on the Calendar website here.

We have also reached out to some small businesses this week within Hull and the East Riding to make them aware of the campaign.  We are hoping to let most of the Hull and East Riding area know about this campaign with all of our efforts. We are now trying to reach out to schools at all levels, so please come forward and let us know that you support the campaign.

Too often we don’t listen to our elders but this week we have been honoured with the recounted memory of Mrs Eileen Myers, a woman now in her 90's originally from Hull and now living in Newark, who remembers the monument being moved from its original position on Monument Bridge as a 14-year-old girl. She also recalls regularly being taken by her father to visit Wilberforce House. Oral history can be a valuable thing; go ahead and ask the senior citizens of Hull because as is often the case, stories from years ago are far easier to recall.

We are still awaiting HMRC to register us so that we can claim Gift Aid, but in the meantime please let generosity prevail and donate when you can. Thank you to those of you who have done so already.

Credit to Fine Art America for the image. The picture shows the seal of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in England in the 1780s, later used as the emblem of the American Abolitionist movement.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Campaign update - 2nd February

This week we have welcomed the current William Wilberforce as the second patron of our charity. William is a direct descendant of William Wilberforce (the abolitionist). He currently lives in Markington Hall near Harrogate and still retains some allegiance to Hull.

Also this week, we had the opportunity to present to members within the Hull Chamber of Commerce who expressed their commitment to back the campaign. We'll provide you with more updates as their support develops.

As we wait for HMRC to register the charity, we are busy thinking of different opportunities for fundraising so please send us your ideas via Facebook, Twitter or email.

Don’t forget to shop through easyfunding.org.uk (more details on our Donate page). It does not cost you anything so it is a great way to contribute to the campaign.

Image taken from skyscrapercity.com - credit to legolamb for the picture. This is Queen Victoria Square in 1903. It shows the monument before it was moved to its present position.  The Dock Offices are on the left hand side and to get your bearings, the dock is in front of the monument and the present day Princes Quay is in front, slightly to the right.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Update - 26th January

It is with considerable pride that we are able to announce Lemn Sissay MBE as a Patron of our charity. Lemn is a friend of Hull and will be readily remembered for his rendition of Martin Luther King's ‘I have a dream’ speech which left such a positive impression on many of us during last year's Hull Freedom Festival.

Lemn is already known for a significant piece of work, the Gilt of Cain, situated in the heart of the City of London close to where Wilberforce gained the inspiration to debate the end to the Slave Trade. For more information, follow this link.

Also this week, we have established an 'Easyfunding' platform so that at no additional cost, supporters can help the fund raising whilst shopping for everyday items online. Visit the Donate page to find out how you can raise money for the Fund by shopping on Amazon, Ebay, Marks & Spencer and more.

A meeting with the Council this week has been encouraging as they continue to give us their full support. Our campaign sits firmly within their plans for the City of Culture celebrations.

Take a trip back in time and watch these Pathe news clips. The first covers the Wilberforce Centenary Celebration in 1933 and the second shows Hull's Queen's Gardens opening in 1935.

Please support the campaign by emailing any fundraising ideas.

The above image shows part of the sculpture designed to commemorate the 2007 bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. It can be found at Fen Court in the City of London. It is a collaboration of artists Michael Visocchi and poet Lemn Sissay. Read more here.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Update - 19th January

We are very pleased to see that the film 12 Years a Slave is currently being shown in Hull earlier than the cinemas had initially planned. We'd like to give a big thank you to Cineworld who agreed to make our leaflets available to the public in their display stands in the foyer. Thanks also to Hull College for funding the publication of our publicity material. Both actions have helped us greatly in spreading the word about the fund.

We continue to get messages of support for the campaign which is encouraging. Hull Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the campaign and will work with us to help us in achieving our aim. They see the merits in this campaign as being beneficial to the City as a whole.

We would welcome fundraising ideas and pledges to hold events for the benefit of the campaign. Thank you for your continued support.

Image provided by Ronan Burns.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Campaign update - 13th January

Since the last update we have become a small charity and we are applying with the HMRC so that we can claim Gift Aid. This will take some weeks but we will let you know when this has been completed. A list of the five trustees is displayed in the ‘About’ tab.

Our aim remains to light the Wilberforce monument as a symbol of the great achievements of the abolitionist and as a means of keeping the issue of slavery in view. We are also keen to improve the cultural and historical awareness and the importance of the Wilberforce legacy. As such, we have written this into the charity’s constitution and with this in mind we are talking to other individuals with similar ideas.

I hope some of you saw the First Person article in Hull Daily Mail (10th January) which expressed our outrage about 12 Years a Slave not being shown after public release and then for only one week and in only one cinema in Hull, the home of the most famous of the abolitionists. Hull does not deserve this snub; we need to highlight the contributions that Hull has made to humankind.

Incidentally, we have seen the film (in York) and would thoroughly recommend that you go and see it as it is remarkable.

The image is from the front page of the Graphic newspaper, 11th March 1882. The illustration shows Whitefriargate Bridge and the Wilberforce Monument.

Friday, 3 January 2014

New Year update - 3rd January

Happy New Year!

The holiday season has meant that there has been a pause in the campaign but we now plan to start anew. We plan to draw more attention to the campaign and as a start we have contacted cinemas in Hull (Cineworld, Odeon and Vue) to gain publicity to coincide with the acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave due for release on Friday (10th January).

This is likely to be a major hit and provides the perfect opportunity to highlight the just cause that Wilberforce stood for and which we commemorate through the magnificent monument that we are trying to illuminate in the City.

As a result, Odeon at Kingston Park has kindly allowed our poster to be displayed in their foyer and I would urge any of you who see the poster to spread the words amongst your network of friends and family to help boost the campaign's funds.

We are continuing to contact key people and are looking to engage some notable local pillars of the community as patrons to the campaign.

Picture used with permission from Hull Daily Mail.