Back to map of London
Map of the City, London
Click on a red cross to explore
the Black and Asian presence in the City.
1. South Sea House
2. The memorial to John Newton
The Jamaica Coffee House
4. East India House
5. Africa House
Number 38, Threadneedle Street.
The South Sea Company launched in 1710 had its headquarters on
the corner of Threadneedle Street and Bishopsgate. In 1713, under
the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, Britain gained from France the
right, known as the Asiento, to supply slaves to the Spanish colonies.
The South Sea Company was chosen to carry out the terms of the Asiento
regarding the transportation of slaves and had the backing of the
Royal family who were the official contractors. The company is most
famous for causing the economic crisis known as the ‘South
Sea Bubble’ which caused Britain to rethink its economic policy
at the time.
This document from the Treasury records at
The National Archives is part of a Royal warrant dated 2 September
1714 confirming that Spain granted Britain the Asiento
for a period of 30 years and giving the responsibility for
supplying slaves to the Spanish colonies to the South Sea
You can view the Asiento and articles relating
to the Treaty of Utrecht at The National Archives. To look
at these documents, check the catalogue online or visit The
National Archives in person. A member of staff will help you
find what you are looking for.
The memorial to John Newton
St Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street.
the wall of this church is a monument to John Newton, who was the
rector here from 1779 onwards. He was a fervent campaigner against
the slave trade.
In his early years, he made several slave trading voyages to Africa
and the West Indies, later recording his experiences as a slave
trader in a book, The Journal of a Slave Trader (John Newton)
1750-1754. His writings were later used in the campaign against
the slave trade.
John Newton is known today as the composer of the hymn ‘Amazing
Grace’ with its opening lines of
“Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”
of the memorial
Jamaica Coffee House
Number 12, St Michael’s Alley.
This building, now a wine bar, is the site of London’s first
coffee house. Built in 1652 it was called the Pasqua Rosee.
The whole alley was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666
but a new coffee house was built in 1668. The name Jamaica most
likely referred to Britain’s recent acquisition of the island
of Jamaica with its sugar plantations.
London had over 2,000 coffee houses. They were places where traders
met to discuss business and arrange loans, advertise the sale of
slaves or put up notices for the capture of runaway slaves. A notice
for 8 August 1728 shows a two guinea reward offered at the Jamaica
Coffee House for a runaway Black female slave called Caelia Edlyne.
On this site stood the headquarters of the East India Company.
The company was set up in 1600, in the reign of Elizabeth I to expand
Britain’s trade in spices and other goods with the Indian
The company’s influence in India grew spectacularly and even
the British government found it difficult to control its activities.
Investors and employees of the company could become wealthy very
quickly and lived luxurious lifestyles.
Many brought Asian servants back to Britain with them after working
in India with the company and ships from India worked by Lascar
seamen brought Asians to live in London and other places.
This area of the City now occupied by Lloyds Insurance company,
which also has its’ origins in the voyages to India and Africa,
was dominated by the activities of the East India Company, which
had warehouses and drilling grounds for company soldiers nearby.
few doors down from the headquarters of the East India Company stood
the headquarters of the Royal African Company. This company started
off as The Company of Royal Adventurers, which received a royal
charter from King Charles II in 1660. It became the Royal African
Company in 1672, once again by Royal charter. Its principal aim
was to develop the African slave trade and ensure that Britain received
its share of the profits from the transatlantic slave trade and
other goods from Africa.
This document forms part of an account book
showing slaves obtained in Africa by the Royal African Company
and the islands they were delivered to in the Caribbean. It
lists how many 'Negroes' were transported and sold.
Back to map of London