Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
The National Trust has released an Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery which surveys its properties and highlights links between the property, past owners and slavery and colonialism. Lacock Abbey, one of photography's most important historical sites, is included.
The report notes:
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
John Rock Grosett MP (c.1784–1866) was a plantation owner who leased Lacock Abbey during the 1820s. He was the son of Schaw Grosett (1741–1820), a merchant of Clifton, Bristol, and Mary Rock (1755–1807). John Rock Grosett married his cousin, Mary Spencer Shirley (1784–1820), and through his father, mother and wife received a combined inheritance of at least three Jamaican estates: Chepstow Pen and Spring Gardens Estate in St George, and Petersfield in St Thomas-inthe East. In 1822, he joined the Standing Committee of The London Society of West India Planters and Merchants and supported planters’ interests in Parliament. By 1831, Grosett had left Lacock to live in Jamaica, elected to the Assembly that year. In 1834, he and his lawyer received compensation totalling £16,143 1s. 9d. for 916 enslaved people.
H J P Arnold notes in his biography of William Henry Fox Talbot (p. 45-46) that Grosset surrendered the lease to Lacock Abbey in 1827 and it was made ready for a partial reoccupation by Talbot and the Fieldings, including Talbot's mother, Lady Elizabeth, and his sisters. Lacock itself is unlikely to have benefited directly from Grosset's occupation and there is no suggestion that Henry Talbot or his immediate family profited from slavery or colonialism, other than from Grosset's rental income.
The full report can be read here: https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/colionialism-and-histori...
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