Whiteladies Road and Blackboy Hill must have something to do with the slave trade?
Whiteladies Road has probably more to do with a medieval order of nuns than with the slave trade. The associations of Blackboy Hill are more varied and explanations include that such a name referred to the dark-haired king Charles II (in his day White people who had dark hair and dark skin were said to have a ‘black complexion’) or that it referred to the North Africans or Muslims during the time of the medieval Crusades.
HOWEVER, in 1733 court records tell us that there was a road in what is now near Lippiat Road in Easton, which lead ‘from the Blackamoor’s Head to White Hall’. In Keynsham there was a pub called ‘the Blackboy and Trumpet’ and that most definitely refers to the role black musicians played in the British armed forces. So we think it is most likely that Blackboy pub and Blackboy Hill do allude to Africans in the days of transatlantic slavery. There is an oral tradition that some Africans were sold at the top of the Blackboy Hill and that until the 1950’s or 60’s a stone up on the downs attested to this fact. But there is no written evidence to support this.
But they kept slaves in Redcliffe Caves
These caves were used mainly for storage of goods and sand dredging, but they are immediately underneath properties owned by an African merchant Thomas King, so it is possible Africans (sailors or enslaved workers) might have been quartered there. King was not a slave trader himself but did trade in goods from Africa. We also know that some French prisoners of warkept in Stapleton in Bristol were Africans from the French Caribbean and it is possible that some French POWS were also kept in Redcliffe caves. So though we have no written proof, it is possible black people were kept there, but it doesn’t seem likely that large numbers of people of any background were kept there. A plaque above the entrance to the caves refer to their use for storage of goods for the African trade. This appears to have lead to some confusion. The idea that enslaved Africans would need to be somehow hidden from view of the Bristol public is actually counter to the fashion. Where Africans were brought to Bristol as servants of the wealthy, they were actually flaunted as a sign of that wealth. Well what about other places in Bristol? There are many locations in Bristol today which are connected to the African slave trade and the Black presence in the city during that time.
A number of trails and routes have been produced which include locations such as Queens Square, Theatre Royal, Commercial Rooms, Colston’s statue, Colston Hall, Scipio Africanus’ grave and 17th century houses. A number of Bristol streets and building have names which can be associated with the trade such as Guinea Street and Jamaica Street or with names from prominent slave merchants such as Colston, Farr, Hawkins and Elton. Printed publications include The Bristol Slavery and Abolition Trail by B. Drummond, while examples of online trails
can were to be found on Sweet History and England’s Past for Everyone websites.
See also: Vincent Baidoo