Facing the Past is an arts and research programme to reflect, reveal and redress omissions in the way the City of Lancaster has commemorated its role as the fourth largest slavery port in the UK.

Facing the Past is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to create the digital archive and trail and coordinate and present the series of commemorative events and community participation across Lancaster.

Lancaster was the fourth largest slaving port in the United Kingdom. During the eighteenth century, there were more than 200 sailings to Africa, and an estimated 30,000 Africans were enslaved and transported across the Atlantic. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was participated in, either directly or indirectly, by most trades and professions in Lancaster.

Following Black Lives Matters Movement, that expanded globally after the murder of Geroge Floyd in 2020, a group of activists, arts & heritage organisations, faith & community groups and academics came together to facilitate a meaningful response to create new agency and awareness of slavery and the historic black presence in the city.

Facing the Past is a city-wide programme of creative activity throughout 2023 and a permanent digital map resource.

Latest map content