Slavery and the Country House

Ref: C3747620

The toppling of a statue in Bristol has highlighted the involvement of the British aristocracy in the slave trade and the plantations particularly in the West Indies. This course will selectively consider the families and the houses they built from the profits of the slave trade. We will look at a variety of country houses and landscape gardens built on the profits of the trade, come to know the families that were involved, and trace the evidence for their connection with the slave trade through paintings and other documents Students can bring to the course their understanding of the origins of a family or house near them that was affected by the slave trade. We will also look at how the trade was conducted, and the culpability of those taking part in it.

Course aim

The aristocracy of England is now known to have had considerable involvement in the slave trade and the plantations the slave were sent to. This course will look at the families involved, the houses they built and the effect on British society.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • name at least five aristocratic families involved in the slave trade
  • name at least five Country houses that were built or maintained from the proceeds of the slave trade
  • discuss the changing opinion of slavery from 1600- 1850 in Britain
  • name at least 3 paintings that depict slaves that are hung in country houses and galleries in Britain
  • improve digital skills using both Zoom and Canvas

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

You do not need previous knowledge but a love of country houses combined with an interest in slavery and the British part in it would be useful

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Slavery and the Country House


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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