Imagine that it is 1807 and that you live in High Street. The River Hull is crowded with tall-masted sailing ships trading with the Netherlands and the Baltic. Beside the cobbled street stand the grand houses of the wealthy merchant families - Maister, Wilberforce and Pease. Between them, in dirty narrow passages off High Street, live working families, close to their jobs, the shops and the pubs. The city is still, except on the north side, confined by the river and the old town walls.
This was the scene familiar to William Wilberforce, and 1807 was the year when Parliament banned the British transatlantic slave trade. Wilberforce was far from the only campaigner or even, arguably, the most important. Others visited Hull – Olaudah Equiano the ex-slave, for instance, in 1793, selling many copies of his highly influential autobiography. The world remembers Wilberforce in particular because he was the campaign’s strongest voice in Parliament. Hull remembers him because he was born here.
It is a journey that will encourage you to follow in the footsteps of those who challenged the world, to identify important places and events in a city with a radical tradition, and to join in the fight against the slavery which continues to this day.
For more information visit www.wilerberforcetrail.co.uk.
Walk Route: Wilberforce House > Peace Gardens > High Street > The Market Place > Holy Trinity > Old Grammar School > Prince Street > Trinity House > Bowlalley Lane > Whitefriargate > Beverley Gate > Wilberforce Monument