glasgow tobacco lords and slaveryJanuary 28, 2021
The wealthy "Tobacco Lords" were the city's elite. It is understood that a public consultation will be held based on the findings of the study in which names of places and buildings will feature. Stephen Mullen presents this lecture which explores Glasgow’s mercantile past from 1660 and examines the connections with tobacco, sugar, slavery… A small group of Glaswegian merchants dominated the booming transatlantic tobacco … 'Slavery and Glasgow' displays selected highlights of an exhibition about Glasgow's connections with slavery and the abolition of slavery, and was launched to coincide with Black History Month, 2002. Cochrane plans to hand the petition to education secretary John Swinney, Education Scotland and first minister Nicola Sturgeon. Learn more about the tobacco trade that helped Glasgow grow from a small town to a city of commerce. When settlers in North America started cultivating tobacco using slave labour, the economies of Virginia and Maryland were … The church is located in St Andrew's Square, near Glasgow Cross and Glasgow Green, on the edge of the City's East End. Most came from traditional mercantile families, but some of … These adverts enable local businesses to get in front of their target audience – the local community. Online Catalogue. READ MORE: 'We are one': Glasgow singer Lulu backs Justice for George Floyd campaign, The change.org petition calls for streets including Glassford, Ingram and Buchanan Street to be renamed in order to “take these tobacco lords off the pedestal they seemingly stand on and instead recognise other Scottish activists who are deserving of such esteem.”. Directory. Glasgow's transformation from a provincial town to an international centre of commerce depended ultimately on its dominance of the eighteenth-century tobacco trade from the American colonies to Europe. They invested their money in industry and land and many built townhouses in the centre of Glasgow, spreading westwards from Trongate. From the BBC: When settlers in North America started cultivating tobacco using slave labour, the economies of Virginia and Maryland were transformed. HP10 9TY | 01676637 | Registered in England & Wales. Home. By the early 1600s smoking the exotic New World plant was becoming part of social life in Scotland and by the 1630s Glasgow merchants were importing and selling tobacco to the city’s new consumers. "We cannot expect to resolve the racial inequalities persisting today without understanding the history that brought us to this point.". Several city centre streets carry the names of tobacco traders who benefitted from the transatlantic slave trade including Andrew Buchanan, John Glassford, Archibald Ingram and James Dunlop. The tobacco trade was part of broader trade that linked exports of consumer and manufactured goods from Europe with the North American and Caribbean colonies. Tobacco in particular was central and by 1770 Glasgow was a major entrepot for Virginian tobacco which was then re-exported to Europe. Other streets such as Virginia, Jamaica, Tobago and Antigua streets reference the locations of their estates and trading partners from which they profited. In the last war, he is said to have had at one time five and twenty ships with their cargos – his own property – and to have traded for above half a million sterling a year. Glasgow’s famous Tobacco Lords were some of the great innovators of capitalism and accumulated vast sums of money. A little is known about the Findlay family while they lived in Miller Street. History of Maryland in the American Revolution, http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou044.htm, http://www.electricscotland.com/history/glasgow/glasgow3_29.htm, http://www.theglasgowstory.com/story.php?id=TGSBH11, http://www.theglasgowstory.com/story.php?id=TGSBH02, TGS - 1560 to 1770s - Personalities - Alexander Speirs, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tobacco_Lords&oldid=1002638530, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 January 2021, at 11:18. She said: "There are street names, places and statues not only in Glasgow but all over Scotland that honour men who made their fortunes through slavery and colonisation. As the University of Glasgow historian Stephen Mullen wrote in his 2009 book It Wisnae Us: The Truth About Glasgow and Slavery, denial has been its modus operandi. Despite these setbacks, after the American War of Independence (1775–1783) the canny Glasgow merchants switched their attention to other profitable parts of the triangular trade, particularly cotton in the British West Indies. But it was actually named after one of Glasgow's most famous ‘Tobacco Lords’. Newsquest Media Group Ltd, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.  It was the first Presbyterian church built after the Reformation, and was commissioned by the city's Tobacco Lords as a demonstration of their wealth and power. Glasgow merchants had financed trading missions to the Chesapeake since 1707 and they began to dominate the tobacco trade after 1740. Scrutiny over city's ties to slave trade increases as Black Lives Matter protests continue . In terms of statues, he said he currently was unaware of any dedicated to tobacco lords or members of the "sugar aristocracy", though some examples might yet arise. "CRERs concern about changing names is it would be an easy way to erase the history and the legacy of racial hierarchy and racism these people used to justify their greed. The impact of the Tobacco Lords on Glasgow's architectural heritage remains today.  At his Mount Vernon plantation, future President of the United States George Washington saw his liabilities swell to nearly £2,000 by the late 1760s (equivalent to £279 thousand in 2019). Some idea of the grandeur of the Tobacco Lords' houses - which often dramatically punctuated the ends of the streets named after them – can be had in the original core of Glasgow. … And make no mistake, the ‘Tobacco Lords’ were fearsome capitalist competitors who monopolised the trade in slave-grown tobacco from Virginia, which was shipped to Europe (especially France) via Glasgow. Doors Open Day Hub @ The Civic Room 215 High Street Former Linen Bank G1 1QB. Glasgow grew from a small town to a city of commerce through its dominance of the tobacco trade from the American colonies to Europe in the 18th century. But when the time came to sell the crop, the indebted growers found themselves forced by the canny traders to accept low prices for their harvest in order to stave off bankruptcy. Instead, CRER campaigners believe it is essential to educate the public about this history in order to resolve racial inequalities. Many became so wealthy that they adopted the lifestyle of aristocrats, lavishing vast sums on great houses and splendid churches. The Tobacco Lords personified this boom and were the nouveau riche of the mid-eighteenth century. , During the 1760s tensions grew between Britain and her American colonies, amongst which were economic stresses arising out of the perceived unfairness of the tobacco trade. The triangle involved merchants carrying UK manufactured goods to West Africa to sell or exchange for slaves which they transported on to America and the Caribbean. Those ads you do see are predominantly from local businesses promoting local services. These debts, as much as the taxation imposed by Westminster, were among the colonists' most bitter grievances. The merchants' Calvinist background made sure, however, that display was always of rich but sober materials – black silk clothes, (though startlingly set off by scarlet cloaks), black three-cornered hats, silver- (or even gold-) tipped ebony canes, mahogany furniture, and classical architecture in their domestic and public use. A more modest Tobacco Merchants House (by James Craig, 1775) is being restored at 42 Miller Street. Roads whose names are linked to the slave trade have been targeted During the golden age of colonial commerce the Clyde ports became the principal tobacco emporia in Britain, capturing the lion's share of the trade from London, Bristol, Liverpool and … Their mansions were laid out on the western boundaries of the 18th century city, where they gave their names to later streets in what modern Glasgow now calls the Merchant City. Get involved with the news in your community, This website and associated newspapers adhere to the Independent Press Standards Organisation's Editors' Code of Practice. The original ‘tobacco merchant’ Robert Findlay, made his fortune from tobacco in Virginia, where he had travelled at the age of sixteen to join two uncles who already owned slave plantations. Glasgow and tobacco. The Scots bought the crop at pre-arranged prices, and made large (and potentially risky) loans to their customers.. "A place that children as well as adults could go to deepen our understanding of the past. You can make a complaint by using the ‘report this post’ link . The Disturbing History of Tobacco - Tobacco: slaves picked it, Europe smoked it, and the Tobacco Lords of Glasgow grew filthy rich on the profits. FOR a city whose streets so proudly display the names of its 18th century tobacco lords and sugar barons, Glasgow has never done a very good job of confronting its involvement in the slave trade. That work is ongoing. It is understood that a public consultation will be held based on the findings of the study in … Smoking the products of slavery Glasgow was addicted to tobacco a long time before the era of its notorious Tobacco Lords. In the 18 century, a handful of wealthy merchants, known as the ‘Tobacco Lords’ pumped money made from exploiting black salves on plantations … Most of the tobacco shipped from American slave plantations was sold to France. Meanwhile, anti-racism campaigners have added new street names to those that honour the city’s 18th Century Tobacco Lords, who made vast riches by exporting slave-produced goods.  Maryland and Virginia planters were offered easy credit by the Glaswegian merchants, enabling them to buy European consumer goods and other luxuries before harvest time gave them the ready cash to do so.  It was this extension of cheap credit that made the Glasgow men different. As the public turns its focus towards the standing against the systemic racism in UK society, another petition launched by a Glasgow woman is urging for black Scottish history to be incorporated into school curriculums. The Glasgow tobacco lords made their money from re-exporting tobacco through Scottish ports as well as by handling the domestic demand for tobacco. Slavery in the new world from Africa to the Americas. Maybe Elaine and co.... should be putting their power and resources to better use in Glasgow..... Slavery was terrible.... we all know that... but we cant go on apologising for our past.. or half the world would have to as even Africans shared the spoils in the slave trade... some still are along with Eastern Europeans. so get that mess cleaned up and leave Glasgow alone.... Alycidon.  Thomas Jefferson, on the verge of losing his own farm, accused British merchants of unfairly depressing tobacco prices and forcing Virginia farmers to take on unsustainable debt loads. However, Zandra Yeaman, campaign officer for the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), highlights concerns that simply changing the names may promote a further erasure the role Scotland had in slavery. Much has been written about all three, in particular detailing how they and others, developed the … Scottish Archive Network - Slavery and Glasgow - Tobacco Lords Discover the history of the Glasgow Tobacco Lords, as part of the Scottish Archive Networks online Black History Exhibition.  Heavily capitalised, and taking great personal risks, these men made immense fortunes from the "Clockwork Operation" of fast ships coupled with ruthless dealmaking and the manipulation of credit. Digital Archive . In terms of statues, he said he currently was unaware of any dedicated to tobacco lords or members of the "sugar aristocracy", though some examples might yet arise. From 1740, a new generation of tobacco lords established themselves who dominated Glasgow’s civic and commercial affairs. Tobacco Lords . William Cunninghame's (greatly expanded and embellished) mansion now houses the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. "We already have a problem with amnesia on Scotland’s role in slavery without helping it develop further.". Prior to 1740, Glasgow merchants were responsible for the import of less than 10% of America's tobacco crop, but by the 1750s Glasgow handled more of the trade than the rest of Britain's ports combined. HOME PAGE. They then reduced the prices given for his tobacco so that…they never permitted him to clear off his debt.. St Andrew’s Parish Church in St Andrew’s Square, built 1739–1756 by Alan Dreghorn was the Tobacco Lord's ostentatious parish church, in a prestigious area being laid out by such merchants as David Dale (who was not involved in the tobacco trade). Slave-owner’s name removed from Barclays Bank development in Glasgow. As a subscriber, you are shown 80% less display advertising when reading our articles. We may then apply our discretion under the user terms to amend or delete comments. After the war, few of the enormous debts owed by the colonists would ever be repaid. Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellier was a Scottish tobacco merchant with … At the end of 2019, Glasgow City Council launched a major academic study into Glasgow’s historic links to transatlantic slavery and the role the city played in the slave trade. It and other grand mansions shifted the natural axis of the old town westward, testified to the status of the nouveaux riches and illustrated the enormous divisions of wealth created by Glasgow’s colonial trade. The market in tobacco was dominated by the Glasgow merchants who manipulated prices (as the colonists claimed) and caused great distress among Maryland and Virginia planters, who by the time of the outbreak of war had accumulated debts of around £1 million, a huge sum at the time (equivalent to £152 million in 2019). The Glasgow Story - Industrial Revolution - 1770s to 1830s It is important that we continue to promote these adverts as our local businesses need as much support as possible during these challenging times. On the third leg back to the UK they carried tobacco, rum, cotton, sugar and the like. The deepening of the Clyde in 1768 provided a further advantage, because Glasgow ships were built specifically for the Atlantic crossing and were generally bigger than those of other ports. Glasgow’s – and Scotland’s – associations with the slave trade began in haste following the 1707 Act of Union, which saw Scotland and England unite to form Great Britain. St Andrew's in the Square is today Glasgow's Centre for Scottish Culture, promoting Scottish music, song and dance. John Glassford – Tobacco Lord (1715-1783) Part 1. St Andrew's in the Square still survives today and is considered one of the finest classical churches in Britain, Today it is Glasgow's Centre for Scottish Culture, promoting Scottish music, song and dance. Glasgow's position on the River Clyde, where the westerlies hit Europe as well as in other places like Bristol, Nantes, or Bordeaux, may have been an opportunity for its merchants. Data returned from the Piano 'meterActive/meterExpired' callback event. Close • Posted by just now. HOME; Friday, April 20, 2012. The Gallery of Modern Art, which today occupies the (greatly expanded and embellished by later reconstruction as the Exchange) mansion built for William Cunninghame in 1780, at a cost of £10,000 (equivalent to £1.34 million in 2019). Operated with slave labour, these colonies supplied products that found a ready market in Britain and the rest of Europe. If you have a complaint about the editorial content which relates to inaccuracy or intrusion, then please contact the editor here. “Once complete, a public consultation will be launched to determine how the city should respond to the findings – giving a voice to Glasgow’s people and, in particular, those whose lived experiences are a legacy of colonialism.”.  The Virginia Mansion of Alexander Speirs gave Virginia Street its name, and Alexander gave his surname to Speirs Wharf in Port Dundas. The French monarchy granted to Glasgow in 1747 a monopoly for the importation of tobacco into French territories. Not any more. In 1707, the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England gave Scottish merchants access to the English colonies, especially in North America. Although the Shawfield Mansion is long gone, it left a lasting legacy in Glasgow’s built heritage as the model for the architectural style favoured by the ‘tobacco lords’. Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellier was a Scottish tobacco merchant who was on of Glasgow's 'Tobacco Lords'. This site is part of Newsquest's audited local newspaper network. Glasgow’s merchants possessed a ruthless mindset underpinned by a strong sense of economic rivalry. The Tobacco Lords were a group of Scottish merchants and slave traders who in the 18th century made enormous fortunes by trading in tobacco. Tobias Smollett wrote of a meeting with Glassford in 1771: I conversed with Mr G--ssf--d, whom I take to be one of the greatest merchants in Europe. For example, the Tobacco Lords definitely had their own style. A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “Late last year, Glasgow became the first local authority in the UK to commission an in-depth academic study of its city’s links to transatlantic slavery. Cruel Scottish slave traders kidnapped people from West Africa and imprisoned them on Bunce Island off the coast of Sierra Leone. About us . Post moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. In 1786, he remarked: A powerful engine for this [mercantile profiting] was the giving of good prices and credit to the planter till they got him more immersed in debt than he could pay without selling lands or slaves. FOR a city whose streets so proudly display the names of its 18th century tobacco lords and sugar barons, Glasgow has never done a very good job of confronting its involvement in the slave trade. A petition which was initially launched nine months ago has seen support sky-rocket in 24 hours as the number of signatures rose from less than 100 on Wednesday to more than 3000 on Thursday morning. William Cunninghame of Lainshaw (1731–1799) was a leading Tobacco Lord who headed one of the major Glasgow syndicates that came to dominate the transatlantic tobacco trade. This article is more than 2 years old. Slavery and Glasgow. Arguably the most successful of these merchants was John Glassford, who entered the tobacco trade in 1750 and had soon acquired a fleet of vessels and many tobacco stores across New England. From 1710, Glasgow became the centre of an economic boom which lasted nearly fifty years. Thousands of Glaswegians have joined in on fresh calls to rename the city streets which carry the names of slave owners. Glasgows Built Heritage, Tobacco, Slavery & Abolition. Many became so wealthy that they adopted the lifestyle of aristocrats, lavishing vast sums on great houses and splendid churches. Research Tools . At the end of 2019, Glasgow City Council launched a major academic study into Glasgow’s historic links to transatlantic slavery and the role the city played in the slave trade. Among the important Tobacco Lords whose mansions gave their names to streets were Andrew Buchanan, James Dunlop, Archibald Ingram, James Wilson, Alexander Oswald, Andrew Cochrane, and John Glassford. The campaign officer added: "Whilst something needs to be done at each named location to inform people about the individuals concerned, money would be best placed in creating a dedicated National Museum telling the full stories of Scotland’s ‘unvarnished’ history. The Tobacco Lords were a group of Scottish merchants and slave traders who in the 18th century made enormous fortunes by trading in tobacco. As Glasgow University owns up to slavery wealth, others urged to follow . A Gannett Company. Other streets recall the triangular trade more directly, with modern streets bearing names like Virginia Street and Jamaica Street. For the time being, he did not believe that Glasgow has the same celebration of slave-traders as does Bristol, with Edward Colston. Glasgow, Scotland and Slave-grown Tobacco Glasgow and tobacco. ©Copyright 2001-2021. Glasgow merchants made such fortunes that they adopted the style of aristocrats in their superior manner and in their lavish homes and churches. Servicing the colonial economies was a major stimulation to local industrial growth, which also relied on materials such as fibres, pig iron, chemicals and wood imported mainly from the Baltic region. READ MORE: Teach black Scottish history petition in schools reaches over 7000 signatures. The Glasgow Tobacco Lords made sure everybody knew who they were by wearing ostentatious clothing as well as building lavish mansions and churches throughout the city. Presbyterian ‘Tobacco Lords’ attended to their spiritual needs and the Kirk was constructed between 1739-1756. Glasgow’s tobacco lords reigned supreme and their lavish townhouses littered the growing city centre which spread west from the Trongate. If you are dissatisfied with the response provided you can contact IPSO here. Readers’ comments: You are personally liable for the content of any comments you upload to this website, so please act responsibly. Celebrated in his lifetime, Glassford was the most extensive ship owner of his generation in Scotland, and one of the four merchants who laid the foundation of the commercial greatness of Glasgow through the tobacco trade. Talk. From the Trongate, we walk down to St Andrews in the Square. We do not pre-moderate or monitor readers’ comments appearing on our websites, but we do post-moderate in response to complaints we receive or otherwise when a potential problem comes to our attention. … In the same area was the grand house of Alexander Speirs. The petition, launched by Jessica Cochrane, has racked up more than 8000 signatures calling on the Scottish government to include Scotland's colonial past and the lives and experiences of black people in Scotland into the Curriculum for Excellence. A petition calling for Glasgow to rename the streets in the city which celebrate slavery figures has gained over 3,500 votes in the past 24 hours.. The three most prominent Glasgow ‘Tobacco Lords’ were William Cunningham, Alexander Speirs and John Glassford. Forum. The English merchants simply sold American tobacco in Europe and took a commission. 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