In 2007, the National Trust was successful in securing over £40,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exhibition on the connection between Penrhyn Castle and slavery. This was part of a year-long commemoration promoted by the government for the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
Bringing the exhibition together was a collaborative process, involving the National Trust, which supplied the site, interpretive panels and display material, local volunteers, who researched and wrote about the Pennants' Jamaica archives, and children from schools in North Wales, Liverpool and Jamaica, who produced artwork, poems and prose. It proved a great success, attracting visitors from across the country. The exhibition is no longer open.
The production of this exhibition is an example of how a historic site can successfully share its hard-to-tell stories. It stands as a signal to other heritage organisations that, by working collaboratively and openly with others, they can present a more honest and inclusive history of Britain, one that is more representative of the country's increasingly diverse population.
Photographs of the exhibition
1. Artwork produced by Ysgol Llanllechid, a primary school near the castle
2. Local volunteers researching the Pennants' Jamaica archives in Bangor University
3. Visiting schoolchildren producing artwork inspired by the exhibition
4. A poignant example of their work
5. Schoolchildren actively engaged in the exhibition
6. Members of a multi-faith group from Liverpool visit the exhibition and afterwards plant commemorative trees in the grounds of Penrhyn Castle