Thanks to CRVs Gracie and Laura, we have heard about Bristol's slave trading activities and the importance of the importing of sugar.
Visits to The Georgian House and the museums in Bristol and seeing the other fine buildings built by the merchants, gave a clear picture of the wealth made by those who were involved in supplying and operating slave ships, and those owners waiting for sight of the ships arriving back laden with 'white gold', as sugar was known. All those who worked in the support industries and supply chains also benefitted, but the spinners and weavers who laboured to produce Welsh Plains cloth saw little or none of this wealth after the traders and merchants took their cuts.
Also in an interesting research thesis produced by Elizabeth Baigent for her PhD "Bristol Society in later Eightennth Century, she details the wide range and categories of occupations giving a picture of a very busy and active city, with merchants bying and selling the goods and using the services of a wide range of trades people and workers, with 'distributors' ensuring that products got to the markets and goods were assembled for the overseas international trade. Click HERE
This is a long, but fascinating document, with reference at times to people working in the fabric / wool trade, here is a quote from the introduction: "the quickening pace of economic change....particularly in the great commercial and manufacturing towns, eventually tipped the balance towards discard and confrontation.
As relative inequalities of income and status became more pronounced and rising consumer expectations were frustrated by the uneven and unpredictable course of 'progress'" (1984,192).
There is, however, a dearth of research on the inequalities and conditions of life within specific towns and cities on which to base such a generalisation.
The following study attempts to contribute to the general debate by examining the society in the city of Bristol in the later eighteenth century. It seeks to establish the theoretical context for discussion of the modernisation of society and to examine current knowledge of Bristol society at the time."
In June 2020 during the Black Lives Matter campaigns, the world heard of Colston, the Bristol slave trader who had given much of the wealth he generated to the City of Bristol, endowing schools, churches and other social enterprises.
Check HERE for BBC article about Colston.
And check here for a feature on the Black History website Click HERE