Teaching idea/enquiry: Is there evidence that the transatlantic slave trade contributed to industrialising England?
Many industries developed as a response to the transatlantic slave trade – in manufacturing goods for export, equipping slaving ships and processing raw slave grown products that returned from the Americas. See: The impact on industry Background Information.
Pupils can revisit previous work on the local area in History and Geography and the concept of the industrial revolution.
Suggested teacher led activities (starter)
- Note: the industrial impact was also felt in Scotland and Wales but English Heritage has a mandate only for England.
- Brainstorm all the features in your local environment that suggest an industrial past (or present).
- Ask pupils to try and date key features (such as a local mill, canal etc).
- What clues/evidence can they find to help with this?
- Use your local record office or other archives for support materials (see also Heritage Explorer).
Suggested pupil activities (main)
Introduce pupils to the ‘triangular trade’ that made the transatlantic slave trade so economically successful.
Discuss the goods being exchanged at each stage.
Where were the goods being produced for export and exchange in Africa?
EG metal goods and guns – Black Country; cotton – Lancashire; alcohol/glassware – Bristol; wool – Devon.
Where were the raw products returned for processing?
EG cotton - Lancashire; palm oil – Liverpool; tobacco – Bristol; sugar – London.
Mark these areas and goods on an outline map of Britain.
Stretch pupils by discussing (and marking on the map) the routes the goods travelled to and from the ports.
What forms of transport were used?
Suggested discussion (plenary)
On post-it notes write as many features as possible of enslaved workers in the Caribbean and of industrial workers in say the textile mills in Lancashire – draw out the similarities and the differences as a wholeclass on the board.
Stretch pupils to develop a short case study of a Lancashire textile mill, such as Quarry Bank Mill.
Discuss as a class if slavery still exists today and if so, how it differs from chattel slavery 300 years ago.
Pupils can write a short summary using this writing frame:
- The slave trade contributed to industrialising England because...
- Goods exported from England to Africa included...
- Raw slave grown materials imported for processing included...
- The areas and towns that became most industrialised included…
- There is evidence of industrialisation in our local area because there is...
- This dates from ... which is before/after/during the time of the slave trade.
All pupils must: be able to identify some signs of industrialisation in the local area; make broad links between the exchange of goods and the transatlantic slave trade.
Most pupils should: recognise some industrial buildings in their local area; know that industrialisation took place at a great rate in the 18th and 19th centuries; understand that the transatlantic slave trade involved the exchange of goods for African people; name some of the goods exported from Britain to Africa, and raw products imported for processing from the Americas; be able to show on a map where some of these goods were made/processed.
Some pupils could: evaluate the extent of industrialisation in the local area and compare it to other parts of England; be able to relate the Industrial Revolution in Britain to the workings of the transatlantic slave trade and evaluate its impact; show on maps where goods were made or processed and explain how they were transported to the ports at the time of the trade; draw analogies between the industrial workers in Britain and enslaved Africans on the plantations.