Runaway Slaves in Britain

Simon Newman's picture

The ‘Runaway Slaves in Britain’ project webpages and database launches on 1 June 2018. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the research project team have combed through English and Scottish newspapers published between 1700 and 1780 (many of which can’t be digitally searched), locating newspaper notices for enslaved and bound people who escaped in Britain, as well as notices advertising the sale of enslaved people. The database is searchable by different categories, and the transcription (and where possible an image) of each advertisement is also available.


This database has created one of the largest single resources for the study of bound and enslaved people of colour who were present in eighteenth-century England and Scotland. It demonstrates that racial slavery was far more than a distant colonial situation, and that enslaved and bound people lived and worked throughout Britain.


The project has triggered broad popular interest in Britain, for example helping to inform the award-winning short film ‘1745’ (, and a forthcoming graphic novel entitled Freedom Bound based directly on project research ( ).


For the ‘Runaway Slaves in Britain’ webpages and database, please go to: