the friend online
23 March 2007


Hushed silence as school hears of ‘appalling suffering of human beings’ - preview
Professor Jim Walvin from York University has visited Bootham, where he addressed the entire school on the abolition of the slave trade
  • As a leading expert on the history of the slave trade, 2007 has – unsurprisingly – been a particularly busy year for him
  • Since January he has given thirty-seven lectures and talks, and he came to Bootham via visits to Dublin and Washington – and, coincidentally, having appeared the night before on Channel 4's documentary The Last Slave

  • Toby Spence, Bootham's head of history, described the talk, which was heard by the whole school in a hushed silence
  • 'His recent research into the personal lives of slaves, traders and abolitionists gave a unique and vivid depiction of both the horrors of life and death for the slaves as well as the struggles of the likes of William Wilberforce to end the “morally reprehensible” trade
  • We were reminded of the many fine buildings which stand to this day in cities such as Glasgow, Bristol and Manchester which were built upon the profits of the slave trade
  • Professor Walvin painted a picture of coffee houses in late 18th century York fogged up with tobacco smoke and the smell of sweet coffee – but the tobacco and sugar were directly linked to the appalling suffering of human beings
  • '

    Jane Peake, Bootham School

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