First Prime Minister of the London Empire, William Beckford, Jamaican Planter & Lord Mayor of London (1709 – 1770)

Tuesday 13th October 2015

This talk examines the life of William Beckford, twice Lord Mayor of London, and one of the largest slave-owners in the British Empire. In a remarkable political career, he gained fame as a proponent of British liberties, while overseeing a transatlantic family business founded on colonial slavery. The talk will seek to demonstrate how these apparent contradictions highlighted many of the dilemmas Britain faced as a global empire, and helped to spark some of the earliest domestic debates about its future as an imperial power.


Speaker: Dr Perry Gauci


Dr Perry Gauci is the Vivian Green Fellow in Eighteenth-Century History at Lincoln College, Oxford. His research centres on the interactions of political and commercial change in eighteenth-century Britain.


This event is the second of eight talks in the series titled The British Business of Slavery, curated by Deborah Lavin.


Tickets: individual tickets £5, students and participating society members £3. Series ticket £30, students and participating society members £21.

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