Abolition of slavery celebrated by school with tree planting

Former Mayor of Sleaford, Coun Anthony Brand and his wife Harriott have offered a mulberry tree to William Alvey School to plant in its grounds to celebrate the abolition of slavery by Britain.

Harriott Brand and the new mulberry tree. EMN-221101-162205001
Harriott Brand and the new mulberry tree. EMN-221101-162205001

A parent cleared a patch of ground in front of the school and a plaque is being designed.

Headteacher, Stephen Tapley, said: “The mulberry tree planted here celebrates abolitionist William Wilberforce and references the mulberry trees in the garden of the house of his birth in Hull. Sadly we find that worldwide modern forms of slavery still exist.”

He added: “We have no evidence to suggest William Alvey was an anti-slave campaigner but I really hope he was. His forward thinking attitude to education for all, boys and girls and his investment in schooling, make me believe he would have been.”

The site cleared for the new mulberry tree at William Alvey School. EMN-221101-162143001

It took decades to finally achieve full cessation of slavery with the Slave Compensation Act of 1837.

Mr Tapley said: “Slave owners were paid, in total, approximately £20 million through over 40,000 awards. This formed part of the UK’s accumulated national debt and was said to have been finally paid off in 2015.

“Slave owners were large and small including teachers and members of the clergy. In Lincolnshire drawing upon the data provided by University College London we find that 2,890 slaves were owned and compensation amounted to £99,131.

“At one end of the scale Richard Chambers of Stragglethorpe had 27 slaves and was paid £1,204. The other end of ownership is Sir Robert Heron of Stubton Hall, near Grantham who had 1,004 and was paid £26,989. John Cust, 1st Earl Brownlow, of Belton House received £10,058 for 185 slaves.”

The site being cleared to make way for the new tree at William Alvey School. EMN-221101-162154001

Anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson was inspired as a student by Peter Peckard, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, a critic of the slave trade, who was born in Welbourn.

Peckard published an anti-slavery pamphlet entitled ‘Am I not a Man and a Brother?’. The title and image became a slogan for abolitionism and were used on ceramics by famous 18th Century potter Josiah Wedgwood. William Alvey’s great grand nephew married Wedgewood’s daughter.