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Historic site, Queen Square

Queen Square


Photograph of Historic site, Queen Square. Queen Square was completed in 1727, when Bristol’s involvement with the slave trade was nearing its height. The square shows the kind of lifestyle held by Bristol’s merchants and officials, made possible by wealth from the trade with Africa and the Caribbean, much of which invloved trading in slaves and slave-produced goods. Less than a third of the original buildings remain however, mainly owing to damage caused by the Bristol Reform Bill riots of 1831 and the Second World War. In 1775 seven Africa merchants, one Caribbean merchant and a firm of Virginia tobacco merchants were based here. Christopher Claxton was one Queen Square resident. He was an activist campaigning for the continuation of slavery. During the 1831 riots about the changes to the voting system,Claxton’s black servant refused to join the rioters. He was said to have thrown some of them out of the window of his master’s house. By the early 19th century merchants had left the square for the wealthier district of Clifton, away from the smells of the river and the threat of flooding.

With thanks to the authors of the Slave Trade Trail around Central Bristol, Madge Dresser, Caletta Jordan, Doreen Taylor.

Creator: David Emeney

Date: 2003

Copyright: Copyright BCC Museum

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