Author reveals slave trade links with southside estates

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An East Ren author has contributed to a chapter of a new book on Scotland’s involvement in slavery, after discovering links between slave trading and Greenbank House in Clarkston.

Dr Stuart Nisbet’s contribution is included in Sir Tom Devine’s Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection, offering a detailed look at the country’s involvement.

A structural engineer by profession, Stuart’s discovery came about while researching the nearby historic house and its owners — which led to “chasing the trail of several Glasgow merchants to sugar plantations in the Caribbean”.

He told The Extra: “Although Scotland is a more inclusive society today than it was a few decades ago, there is still a lack of information on the input of Africans to the early development of Glasgow and Scotland.

“Many of the estates and parks on the southside of Glasgow — including Pollok and Linn Park — were founded by sugar merchants. The wealth of their owners was often based on the ownership of hundreds of enslaved Africans.”

The new text, shortlisted for Scottish book of the year, suggests that — contrary to popular opinion — Scots were more deeply involved in the ownership of enslaved Africans than the English.

Although a smaller number of slave ships sailed from Scotland, the book argues that Scottish merchants were active in English ports, and others based in the Caribbean were directly involved.

Published by Edinburgh University Press, Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past is available on Amazon.

Writer Stuart has published more than 50 historical articles and booklets, many covering East Renfrewshire and available from organisations including Mearns History Group.