'Bristol and the Slave Trade' Cupboard

Five Facts about the cupboard

1) This cupboard in the Museum used to be an office store – now it contributes to Bristol’s story

2) It can be found in a room which informs the visitor about life in Bristol in the 18th century – including the city’s involvement in the slave trade

3) Some of the items, images and stories in this cupboard are hard to look at – they illustrate the cruelty of the slave trade

4) When living and working in America in the 1730s, John and Charles Wesley started to collect evidence about the cruelty of the slave trade

5) The cupboard features pictures of the decorated grave of Scipio Africanus, a black servant who worked for the Earl of Suffolk in Henbury, Bristol. He died in 1720 aged 18 and is buried in the churchyard of St Marys’ Henbury

About the cupboard

This cupboard provides a very short introduction to the subject of ‘Bristol and the Slave Trade’ in the Museum at John Wesley’s New Room. The subject of slavery and abolition is explored in a deeper way in the ‘war and slavery’ room later on.

It used to be an office store but was converted into a very small exhibition space by creation agency Cod Steaks who worked with Methodist historian Gary Best to completely reimagine the museum during its redesign in 2017.

The imagery in this cupboard is stark. It contains some items and images which some visitors might find upsetting. It is part of a room which explores the differences between the rich and poor classes in Bristol in the 18th century and how the slave trade was a huge part of Bristol’s identity.

This small space cannot hope to begin to tell the whole story. But it provides a doorway of introduction to the trade which is so entwined in Bristol’s history.

"Really excellent - I will be recommending it to friends" - Museum visitor

How to find this item:

After paying for your ticket, walk through the second room which is dramatically divided into two sections – rich and poor.

General Admission
Adults £7
Seniors (65+) £6
Student £6
Children (5-16) £4
Children (under 5) Free
Carer of disabled visitor Free
Family tickets:
1 adult and up to 3 children £10
2 adults and up to 3 children £15
Additional children - £2 per child

Tickets are valid for one year, and include a free audio guide. Please note, these prices will be subject to review in 2021.
The whole site:
Monday - Saturday, 11am - 3pm
The Café:
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm

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