The Museum in Docklands have acquired a rare and significant archive of 18th century papers highlighting London’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.
The Mills Papers document the work of Thomas Mills and his son
John, London merchants who owned sugar plantations in St Kitts and
Nevis in the West Indies between 1752 and 1777.
The archive consists of seven letter-books and a plantation
journal, which the museum will put on public display until Friday,
The journal, acquired from an unnamed dealer, lists the names of
enslaved Africans and records their age, physical condition and
work done, offering a ledger account of both the chain of
production and the grim human cost of bringing sugar to
The documents are expected to prove a unique resource for
researching African and Caribbean heritage.
The museum will concentrate on building a digital archive of the
documents in time for the autumn opening of a permanent gallery
space devoted to the 'triangular' slave trade between London, West
Africa and the Indies. Fittingly, it will be located at No. 1 West
India Quay, a former sugar warehouse.
By Stephanie Harris