Liverpool’s Hidden Horrors of Slavery

With Liverpool City Council about to unveil a selection of information plaques on a handful of streets connected to the city’s slave trade history, this short film explores some of the hidden horrors and slave traders who have slipped through the net to escape being named and shamed.


Many of them unfortunately former Liverpool mayors. One of them, William Gregson, was behind the infamous Zong Massacre of 1781 and can claim more than 9,000 slave deaths during his long and wealthy career which he later passed on to his sons.

Many Liverpool locals want the street names changed. Others want to see information plaques on ALL the streets and places connected to the trade. Not just a select few which appear to have been strategically chosen with tourism in mind and to deflect away from some of the more prominent public figures which include various politicians.

This film asks if Liverpool City Council is trying to airbrush its past and requests that the Mayor acknowledge ALL the streets and landmarks associated with the slave trade.

Together we can bring about these changes.

Many of the photographs in this film are in the Public Domain. Attribution for others are as follows:

  • Councillor Joe Anderson, Leader of Liverpool City Council. By Merseyside Social Enterprise Network, 2010. CC BY 2.0
  • Lord Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar in 2013 (Slightly Cropped). By ElloDolly. CC BY-SA 3.
  • The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery – By RichieMac – CC BY-SA 4.0

Public Domain:

  •  Slave Branding, 1853
  • The Slave Trade by August Francois Biard, 1840
  • The Abolition of the Slave Trade or the Inhumanity of Dealers in Human Flesh Exemplified in Captn. Kimber’s Treatment of a Young Negro Girl of 15 for Her Virjen (sic) Modesty (1792)
  • A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows by William Blake (1796)
  • Barco en el que se Transportan Negros para su venta en Europa y América (FAL)
  • A Liverpool Slave Ship by William Jackson (Cropped)
  • Stowage of a British Slave Ship, Brookes (1788) – Created 1 December 1788
  • Punishing Negroes at Calabouco (Cropped), by Augustus Earle, 1822
  • Portrait of William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898). Photographer Samuel Alexander Walker
  • Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhoon Coming On (“The Slave Ship”) By J.M.W Turner (1840)
  • Zong Crew Throwing Sick Slaves Overboard, 1781
  • Warehouses etc at the End of the Tunnel Towards Wapping, by S.G Hughes, 1831
  • Railway Office, Liverpool, by S.G Hughes, 1830s