Experts from the Wilberforce Institute were invited to continue work on "The Scott Trust Legacies of Enslavement Report", conducting in-depth research to investigate any links of John Edward Taylor (founder of the Manchester Guardian newspaper in 1821), his associates, and his or their business activities with historical slavery. This followed initial research by the University of Nottingham. The research was conducted first by Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty, a fellow at the Wilberforce Institute, and Dr Cassandra Gooptar, and later by Dr Gooptar and Professor Trevor Burnard, Director of the Institute.
This research was conducted and produced in a way that strived to keep the perspectives of the enslaved and their stories at the forefront. Each step of the way, there was genuine effort to understand the sombre and heavy weight of what this research means as well as its part in helping to present a holistic narrative of Britain’s legacy of slavery. The research promoted an uncensored understanding of Britain’s legacies of slavery and colonialism and increased engagement with the Caribbean.
The approach involved online research of contemporary as well as antiquarian sources, secondary literature and archival visits to the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Derbyshire Record Office and the London School of Economics and Political Science Archives.
In this article, Dr Cassandra Gooptar describes the lengthy and difficult process of uncovering the source of the cotton imported John Edward Taylor, and his associates and through this the links to slavery.
The report comes in three parts, and can be viewed via the links below:
Part One: The Taylor Report (University of Nottingham)
Part Two: The Scott Trust Legacies of Enslavement Report
Part Three: Sea Islands & Jamaica: Tracing the Enslaved People