Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery: A textbook for schools

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

by Richard Kennett, Assistant Headteacher at Gatehouse Green Learning Trust and Jane Hack, Senior Engagement Officer for Learning at Bristol Museums

Watching the Colston statue fall last summer was a profound moment for our city. It made us reconsider our past. For history teachers, it made us reflect on what and how we teach transatlantic slavery.

In schools, there has been a focus on the Middle Passage and the plantations of the Caribbean. Tracy O’Brien, one of my co-authors, said this was ‘narrow and macabre’. After speaking to other Bristol history teachers, we decided we needed to do something about this. We would write our own book.

A stack of Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery textbooksThis started as a small idea. We would write a short pdf we could email to other teachers. But then Jane heard about our idea and offered to support us in turning it into a real textbook. Over the next six months the book, the project and the author team grew.

The project is a true collaboration between teachers, academics and museum staff. We have all worked hard to do something very different. We tell a wider and deeper narrative of transatlantic slavery, across time and place. We’ve used objects from Bristol Museums and images from Bristol Archives to illustrate Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery: origins, impact and legacy.

We’ve been open to feedback from many people throughout (and we received a lot!). We hope this book might improve the teaching, and the understanding, of this key part of the story of our city and our country.

Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery: origins, impact and legacy is available from our online shop. Schools and colleges can buy multiple copies at a special rate by contacting the Learning team.

Main image: © James Cameron

7 comments on “Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery: A textbook for schools

  1. Jo goodwin

    I am interested in a copy of this book as a resource-looking at this topic for year 8


  2. Museums Learning

    Hi Jo could you email us your address at [email protected] and we can get one out to you. Thank you


  3. Tom Cox

    I would love a copy of this textbook if at all possibly? We are creating a scheme of lessons on the importance of slavery in the building of Empire and I have heard it is awesome!


  4. Museums Learning team

    Hi Tom, could you email us your address and what school you teach at to [email protected] and we can get one out to you.


  5. Eve

    Hi I am a history teacher and I’ve just listened to the podcast on History Extra.
    I am planning on writing a booklet on the transatlantic slave trade for Y5 over the summer holidays and I would love
    to purchase a copy of this book to use as a starting point. Please can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!


  6. H E Sawyer

    Do they have physical copies for sale at M Shed?
    I’m coming next week to see EC on display & it would give me something to read on the way home.


    1. Saffron Smolka

      Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this. Yes we do stock copies of the book at both museum shops. Hope you managed to get one to read!


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