Woven histories of Welsh wool and slavery
A project exploring local stories of wool production and the entangled legacies of slavery, empire and Welsh wool.
British traders, including the Royal African Company, exported Welsh woollen fabric known as ‘Welsh Plains’ to West Africa and the Americas as early as the seventeenth century. This coarse cloth produced was used to clothe enslaved people on plantations in the Caribbean and North America. Whilst research exists into local production of ‘Welsh Plains,’ and its role in Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, there is a lack of public awareness. The silencing of this colonial narrative within Wales’s industrial history suggests a failure to acknowledge Wales’ role in the British empire.
This project aims to unlock colonial history through engagement with the local community of Dolgellau, a town developed out of Wales’s cottage industry in wool. Through a collaboration between the Brethyn Online Research Network (BORN)/Learning Links International, local Dolgellau historians, Grwp yr Aran, and the Black Heritage Walks Network (BHWN), this project co-develops a self-guided heritage walk to explore local stories of wool production and the entangled legacies of slavery, empire and Welsh wool.
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