Further Events at THE PIERIAN CENTRE on Abolition Weekend :

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th March, 10am - 5pm

Art Exhibition: "Slavery, Power and Freedom"

Slavery, Power and Freedom An exhibition of new work marking the abolition of the Slave Trade 200 years ago. The show filled this beautiful Grade-1-listed Georgian building, and tackled a painful topic with insight, wit and inspiration.

Slavery, Power and Freedom is the work of some of the South West's finest artists, and explores the bitter-sweet resonance of Abolition. Paint, sculpture, photography, textile, film and installation are used to express different responses to this provocative issue.


Among the works are:

Carly McDonough & James Stokes’ photographic survey, “Maid in South Africa”;

Sarah Braun's spectacular textile hanging;

Projects from local youth groups, including pictures from Bread Youth Project's recent Ghana trip - the basis of an exhibition in May at Bristol's City Museum & Art Gallery.

Ros Martin (from Our History, Our Heritage) is screening 2 short films, UNSUNG NO MORE and BUYING INTO BANANA'S LIBERTY - part of their project work with students at St Barnabas School;


Martin Hubbard of www.sameboatproject.com had excerpts from his project retracing the triangle of the Transatlantic slave trade in his boat;

And a wealth of powerful and varied work by Deasy Bamford, Esola Campbell Baker, students from Florence Brown School, Tamayo Hussey, Peter Metelerkamp, Ricky Romain, Rose Thorne and Helen Wilson.

The show ran throughout the weekend of 24th & 25th March, 10am – 5pm both days.


For details about our other exhibitions and events go to www.pierian.co.uk

Saturday 24th March, 6.30pm

The evening started with the launch of : www.bellsunbound.com

“Satan's Kingdom - Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade”

a new book which gives an important new perspective on Bristol's slave trading by historian Pip Jones.

Satan's Kingdom provides a context for the current debate about slavery. It describes and informs, in an accessible format, the role of Bristol in the slave trade and in its subsequent abolition.

The aim of this project was to produce an illustrated account of Bristol’s role in the transatlantic trade, to be used as a resource by schools, colleges and community groups.

The author, Pip Jones, is the co-author of ‘The Black Population of Bristol in the 18th Century’ (Historical Association). She worked at Bristol Museum for 15 years and is an approved teacher at Bristol University. She has been lecturing on Bristol and the slave trade to local societies and groups for about twelve years.

Sue Giles, Curator of Ethnography, has provided the first edit. The curators of the Bristol Museums have advised on the illustrations, many provided from the Museum’s collections.

Past and Present Press is a founder member of Bristol Books and Publishers, an organisation supported by the Creative Industries Initiative of Bristol City Council : www.pastandpresentpress.co.uk

With drinks & refreshments and a chance to catch the Art Exhibition at the same time!

Saturday 24th March, 7.30pm

“Abolition – or just a change of Chains?”www.bellsunbound.com

Public Discussion with a powerful panel including :
Pip Jones (author of "Satan's Kingdom" - see above)
Dr Christien van den Anker (Reader in Politics, UWE)
artist Helen Wilson : www.bristolslavetrade.org
and Martin Hubbard of Sameboat Project : www.sameboatproject.com

You, the audience were critical to this open discussion!
We looked at all aspects of slavery, its history and impact, and in particular the question of modern slavery practices which still continue to this day.

From trafficking to counterfeiting, we live alongside these issues every time we go shopping.


Sunday 25th March, 12.00 Noon

www.bellsunbound.comBells Unbound took place at the precise moment (midday) that George III signed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 200 years ago.

Bells Unbound A commemoration of slaves, a celebration of this resonant act - and a wake-up call for the world today. Bells Unbound invites you to get ringing, to get involved.

At noon on 25th March bells sounded - in Churches, on bicycles, on front doors, the sturdy calves of Morris dancers and world-wide everywhere that bells hang out!

This was your moment. You found a bell - expanded the concept - and found a way to make the moment resonate!

And at noon on the Sunday, while St Stephens, St Mary Redcliffe & the Cathedral each rang a peal, at the Pierian Centre itself it was "bring a bell" - any bell - at 11.45am in time for the mass ding-a-ling at noon.

Sunday 25th March, 3.00pm

NEWS RELEASE : Bristol Cathedral - A Special Service of Commemoration


Commemoration of Slavery Act 1807 : Bristol Cathedral 25th March 2007

www.bellsunbound.com‘The first piece of human rights law in Europe’ is a good way to label the Act of Parliament to Abolish the Slave Trade. This Act passed into law on 25th March 1807. Exactly 200 hundred years later, on Sunday 25th March 2007 at 3.00pm, there will be an Act of Commemoration in Bristol Cathedral. Over the last year the planning has brought together leaders of the black churches of Bristol and community representatives who have shaped this historic event around the themes of Remembrance, Reconciliation and Healing.

Everyone who would like a seat in the Cathedral for this service should request an invitation ticket from the Abolition 200 Department, Bristol City Council. There is a limited supply and these will be distributed to ‘first-come-first-served’.

In the presence of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester members of communities across Bristol will gather in the Cathedral for a ‘people’s service’. Two leading speakers, Dr Anthony Reddie, a distinguished writer of black  theology and the  Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton, the Right Revd Declan Lang will contribute addresses. Gospel choirs will lead the worship and a solemn procession will bring ocean water up from the harbour to the accompaniment of traditional music. The band of the Royal Marines will be on the harbourside reminding us of their role on the high seas enforcing the 1807 abolition of the slave trade 

An Act of Recognition formed a central part of the service. This made a visible sign in which we recognised that there is only one race, the human race, and that in our human diversity we are created equal.

Bishop Mike, the Bishop of Bristol, drew everyone into a closing Act of Resolve as we stood together seeking justice in our city and divided world.

In the years before 1807 a ship a week left Bristol to engage in the trans-Atlantic slave trade resulting in the expansion of the city’s wealth. The struggle to end the slave trade was a cause of division amongst the churches. Many in Bristol would say that this commemoration and recognition is well overdue. It is therefore fitting that this people’s service should take place in the harbourside Cathedral of Bristol with and act of recognition including water from the ocean.

There are those who ask what will be our legacy from 2007.  The Churches Together national network with the name ‘Set All Free’ has committed itself to remember and commemorate these shameful events of our history.  This same network helps us to see that celebrating the endurance and labour of the abolitionists must also inspire the churches to connect and engage with current injustices and global concerns.



Canon Tim Higgins (City Canon)
Mobile   07783 396850
0117 904 6530

June Burrough
0117 924 4512


Outline Of Service

The service at Bristol Cathedral was planned in response and in collaboration with the Council of Black Church in Bristol. The shape of the worship is a consequence of a fruitful process over some months in which we have developed understanding and insight. 

Music in the service was led by gospel choirs brought together for the day and the hymn Amazing Grace was a major moment in that aspect of the worship. There were two addresses which dealt with the themes set for the the service, Remembrance, Reconciliation Hope and Healing. One speaker will be the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton, Bristol, the Rt Revd Declan Lang.  Dr Anthony Reddie, author and teacher of Black Theology is the other speaker.

www.bellsunbound.comTowards the end of the service an Act of Recognition gave voice to the legacy of the slave trade. Representatives of Bristol communities lead a dialogue with the whole gathering to express a recognition of the injustice and shame of the slave trade. As these words are said the representatives gathered around a large vessel in which they poured water which, before the service, they carried from the harbour. Together the representatives will place their hands beneath this water of the ocean, water which carried the slave ships. As they withdrew their hands they dryed each others hands in a mutual act of recognition. Traditional music with rootes in West Africa accompanied this simple ritual.

The themes of the worship were drawn together by the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill.  The Bishop then lead the whole congregation into an Act of Resolve looking forward with the convication that the new life of God's ways of justice and peace must draw all people to engage with issues of health and housing, education and employment, nurturing communities of aspiration and human flourishing for all people. This is the legacy looked for from this bicentenary commemoration of this dark period in our histories.

The Cathedral is privileged to be a participant and is keen to build on the rich experience of this commemoration.


A World Wide Ring Of Freedom