The Church of England was deeply implicated in Britain’s colonial expansion and the transatlantic traffic in enslaved Africans.

The Bishops of London, who owned Fulham Palace from 704 to 1973, held a key role in the Church and historically had jurisdiction over the British colonies around the world. Some Bishops of London were personally involved with or benefitted from colonialism and the transatlantic traffic in enslaved Africans.

Partnership working

In 2020 Fulham Palace Trust started to research the historic role of the Bishops of London in colonialism and transatlantic slavery.  The research informed the decision to empower people who are descended from those who were enslaved or indentured to shape and lead on future projects, including this current temporary exhibition.

Over a period of three months in 2022, poet Adisa the Verbaliser worked with 100 participants from five schools and community groups in London to explore the story of the resistance of enslaved people. Further research was undertaken to support his work.  Participants explored four key themes of resistance against slavery: hair, dance (and martial arts), obeah and song.

Exhibition details

The exhibition at Fulham Palace resulting from this work examines the systems of physical and spiritual resistance that ultimately led to the ending of the transatlantic traffic in enslaved people and slavery itself in the British Empire. This is set against the backdrop of the historic involvement of the Bishop of London and the Church of England in colonialism and transatlantic slavery.

QR codes

There are a series of QR codes within the exhibition, which link to further information on forms of resistance, key resistance figures, world events and context, Bishops of London and the Church of England, and further resources including a detailed reading list.

Use the page links on the right-hand side of this page for further information.

This exhibition has been supported using public funding by Arts Council England.