Read time: 26 mins

The Forgotten World

How Scotland Erased Guyana from Its Past

by Yvonne Singh
21 March 2019

The mangrove-fringed coast of Guyana, at the north-eastern tip of South America, does not immediately evoke kinship with the Highlands of Scotland, in the northernmost part of the British Isles. Guyana’s mudflats and silty brown coastal water have little in common with the lush green mountains and glens of the Highlands. If these landscapes share anything, it is their remoteness – one on the edge of a former Empire burnished by the relentless equatorial sun and one on the edge of Europe (for now) whipped mercilessly by the Atlantic winds. But look closer and the links are there: Alness, Ankerville, Belladrum, Borlum, Cromarty, Culcairn, Dingwall, Dunrobin, Fyrish, Glastullich, Inverness, Kintail, Kintyre, Rosehall, Tain, Tarlogie, a join-the-dots list of placenames (30 in all) south of Guyana’s capital Georgetown that hint of a hidden association with the Scottish Highlands some 5,000 miles away.

As a child, I knew little of my parents’ country Guyana. I knew that it was part of the British West Indies and the only English-speaking country in South America. I knew that my parents, as part of the Windrush generation, had answered the call for labour in post-war Britain – my father, aged 19, travelled by ship from Trinidad in 1960 and enjoyed a long career with the Royal Mail; my mother arrived by plane a couple of years later, to work as a nurse at Rushgreen Hospital in Essex.

I had visited Guyana just once at nine years old (our only plane holiday as children) when my mother’s youngest sister was getting married. My memories of that time are fragmented and rather strange: the scorching heat; the propensity of people to douse themselves with Limacol (‘breeze in a bottle’); the glossy rubber leaves the size of dinner plates that were used to serve sticky balls of rice at the wedding dinner; the constant nag of insects – mosquitos, cockroaches, spiders, flies – magnified in size and more vicious than any I’d seen in the UK; the pain and humiliation of getting sunburnt for the first time (‘wha’ happ’n wid de gal face’); and finally my aunt looking demure in a white lace wedding dress for the Christian wedding ceremony, then transforming into a Lakshmi-like vision in a red-and-gold sari for the Hindu nuptials.

For this was and is a country that celebrated all religions – Christian, Hindu, Muslim – all features of a colonial past that involved the forced movement of people across continents to a life of bondage and indenture. Those people later settled and made Guyana their home, so it is known as the land of six peoples, with people of African, Indian, Chinese and European descent, as well as native Amerindians and a sizeable mixed-race group, making up its population.

The story of why my own family came to be in the Caribbean had been blurred over time: it was something to do with the British, something to do with slavery, but that was all that was shared. Decades later the Guyanese-American journalist Gaiutra Bahadur published the seminal book Coolie Woman, which brought much insight into the subject of Scotland’s links with Guyana. But there have been few other notable works. Guyana doesn’t feature in the history books or the school curriculum in Britain. Consequently, when I tried to explain to my schoolfriends where my family was from – ‘What Ghana?’, ‘No, Guyana in South America’, ‘What like Ossie Ardiles?’, ‘No, he’s Argentinian’. When the Falklands War began in 1982, there were even more questions to navigate.

This is astonishing when you think that the British had such a role to play in that nation’s birth and how central that colony was to the United Kingdom’s industrial wealth and growth in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, it is possible that Guyana’s unique geography (being attached to the South American mainland) has rendered it and its history all but invisible from the collective British consciousness. Perhaps fittingly, it was the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.


Credit: Steven White


Autumn’s kind brushstrokes have rendered the mountains and fir trees of the Highlands a vibrant palette of reds, greens and golds. I am standing on a ridge cluttered with dried grass and leaves on the eastern bank of Loch Ness. Below me, shimmering like a sheet of burnished steel, is the fabled water. I watch as puffy clouds tow shadows across its surface.

North of where I stand is the impressive Dochfour House and Gardens, a sprawling sandy-coloured, Italianate mansion, the ancestral home of the Baillie family, now owned by Alexander Baillie, following the death of his father – the eccentric Lord Burton – in 2013. The late lord was very much a hands-on estate owner and guarded his lands fiercely up until his death – one story has him forcing a car bonnet down on the hand of a passing motorist who had the temerity to stop and examine his car engine near the entrance of the estate.

Today the 11,000-acre estate can be hired for ‘exclusive house parties’ and corporate events. Guests can spend time in the grand mansion — according to the ‘Scotlands for all’ website, ‘a harmonious amalgam of Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian construction’— or enjoy shooting, fishing, riding and sailing in the extensive grounds. The house has even received the royal seal of approval: when Prince Albert visited it in 1847, he pronounced it ‘beautiful, the house elegant, with a fine garden’.

It’s an impressive legacy, even more so when you realise that the Baillies of Dochfour were leading ‘West Indian merchants’ in the 1700s and early 1800s, active in the slave trade and the ownership of plantations in the Caribbean.

To trace the association, it is necessary to peel back the plaster and uncover the history of the house. In 1745, Dochfour House was burnt to the ground by Hanoverian troops in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion and the estate confiscated by the crown. A decade later, on recovering the estate, Alexander Baillie rebuilt the house in 1770 as a fairly unpretentious two-storey building. However, Alexander and his two brothers, Evan and James, along with their cousin George, whose father William owned Rose Hall estate in nearby Sutherland, also had designs on recouping the family fortune and had heard of opportunities in the West Indies. (Alexander had travelled as an officer with the Easter Ross volunteers and this worldview had possibly informed his decision.)

At this point, major inroads had been made into the Caribbean: colonies had been tussled over and acquired by various European nations. Triangular slave trade networks had been established by both the Portuguese and Spanish (the British becoming more involved in the eighteenth century when the Treaty of Utrecht 1713 gave them the right to sell slaves to the Spanish Empire). Goods such as sugar, tobacco, cotton, indigo and rum were finding willing consumers in both Britain and mainland Europe.

Slave labour drove this nascent economy and the Baillies spotted the opportunity and took it. They initially traded as Smith & Baillies based in St Kitts, Grenada and St Vincent, where they built their fortune as sugar planters. Their substantial interests included plantations in Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Nevis, St Kitts, St Vincent, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana was very much the final frontier – when the soils of the neighbouring islands had been exploited, excursions into Guyana presented more fertile territory. Consequently, the Baillies established a number of plantations there, with this colony yielding substantial profits even after the abolition of slavery.

Evan Baillie returned to Bristol where he continued trading in the West Indies as Evan Baillie and Co, and building business interests in both Bristol and Scotland, including Mackintosh, Grant & Co’s Inverness hemp factory and an associated thread mill, funded by his activities in the Caribbean.

But it was after the abolition of slavery that the Baillies really struck gold. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 didn’t just bring to an end to chattel slavery, freeing 800,000 Africans. It also compensated Britain’s 46,000 slave owners for the loss of their ‘property’. This £20 million sum (the modern equivalent being between £16 billion and £17 billion) paid out by the compensation commission represented 40 percent of the total government expenditure in 1834.


Credit: Eddie Singh


The British compensation records – which had languished in the National Archives at Kew until they were unearthed and compiled into a free online database by a team led by Professor Catherine Hall and Dr Nick Draper from University College London (Legacies of British Slave Ownership) – make for unedifying reading.

It is here that you discover that Evan Baillie and his sons received a total of £110,000 (£8.5 million in modern-day money) compensation for the 3,100 slaves they lost.

Compensation was scaled according to the skills of the slave and it differed hugely between the Caribbean nations. As Guyana’s plantations were mostly involved in sugar making and sugar boilers commanded a compensation figure of £100 compared with that of £18 for an unskilled field worker, the Baillies and other plantation owners were heavily compensated for their estates in Guyana, an anomaly that meant Guyana’s slave owners received the most receipts. Nick Draper, in an essay in Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past, explains: ‘The differential allocation of compensation, £25 on average per enslaved person in Jamaica versus £50 in British Guiana was intended to reflect these structural differences in profitability.’[i]

For example, Evan Baillie’s third son James Evan Baillie in 1835 received over £55,000 in slave compensation. James went on to accrue a monopoly board of Highland properties, buying estates including Glentrome in Badenoch, Glenelg, Glenshiel and Tarradale estate (as well as property in Glamorganshire and Redcourt in Bristol).

An outline of James Evan Baillie’s claims for Guyana listed on the Legacies of British Slave Ownership website can be seen below, detailing claim number and plantation in brackets, as well as the numbers enslaved. It is important to note the Baillies were also compensated for slaves they lost in other Caribbean islands. Baillie’s sister, Hannah Baillie, along with her husband James Fraser of Belladrum, even owned a 500-acre plantation on the west sea coast of Demerara, named tellingly Dochfour.

James Evan Baillie

Br Guiana 125A (Deutchiem); £4,349 13S 7D 9 (247 enslaved); British Guiana 158A (Eliza and Mary) £8,617 18S 8D (171 enslaved); British Guiana 2289 (Hampton Court) £23,024 6S 5D (456 enslaved); British Guiana 2542 (Henrietta) £8,635 6S 4D (175 enslaved); British Guiana 629 (Peter’s Hall) £9,256 18S 4D (188 enslaved).[ii]

It was James Evan Baillie’s nephew, Evan Baillie (named after his grandfather), who was responsible for the transformation of Dochfour’s house and estate, hiring the architect William Robertson of Elgin to enlarge the house in 1839-43 (note the dates) and add an ‘Italianate flavour’, extending it to the north and the west and adding pavilions. The house was extended yet again in 1870. Evan went on to inherit his uncle’s estate of Glenelg on the west coast and much of Kingussie, so that upon his death he was one of the largest landed proprietors in the north of Scotland, largely thanks to the profits of slavery.

The Baillies, in some ways, typify our view of slave owners: they were wealthy merchants, centred around the ports of Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow, where the ships of the triangular trade set sail. However, perhaps more unexpectedly, the slavery compensation records also reveal there were slave owners from all backgrounds and, in proportion to population, the highest rates of slave ownership were found in Scotland.



Credit: Eddie Singh
A Scottish El Dorado

I meet with historian David Alston in Cromarty, a small town in the Highlands that sits at the mouth of Cromarty Firth. Comprising just a few streets, the town boasts a wealth of Georgian and Victorian architecture and its fair share of chi-chi boutiques, catering to the American and Canadian tourists who visit the area eager to seek a piece of Highland ancestry.

Alston explains that there are 13 different sites in this tiny place that have connections to slave plantations – mostly in Guyana. He says: ‘If you lived in the Highlands in the 1800s, you would know about Demerara and Berbice [in Guyana]; people would talk about coming back “as rich as a Demerary man”’.

It’s hard to process that a network of Scotsmen from here and the surrounding area used Guyana as a ‘get-rich-quick scheme’, exploiting for profit the trafficked humans (both slaves and indentured labourers) who were my ancestors. A ‘gold rush’ with no thought of tragic human consequence.

As I wade through research and testimonials of the fate of slaves in Guyana, it’s difficult to suppress the anger I feel: up until 1826 (nearly two decades after the abolition of the slave trade), ‘the 11 O’Clock Flog’ was administered in Berbice’s searing heat to men and women who flagged in their tasks; sexual abuse was so endemic in the same district that, in 1819, one in 50 of the enslaved population was the child or grandchild of a white European. Inhumane treatment was the norm: I read of Inverness, a slave acquired and renamed by George Baillie, who tried desperately to escape the back-breaking work on Plantation Brahan on the west sea coast of Berbice, and who was hunted down, mutilated and killed – ‘all by Scots, or under the supervision of Scots, most of them from the Highlands’.[iii]

What is also astonishing is that the people I speak to in Guyana don’t seem aware of this link with the Highlands. I speak to an older cousin who grew up in Guyana but now lives in the US. ‘We were taught about Cuffy [rebel slave] and the slave rebellion of 1763,’ she recounts. ‘But the slave trade wasn’t discussed.’

I tell her about Cromarty and she laughs at the pronunciation of a well-known place from her childhood, near Cotton Tree in Berbice. ‘You know Aunty Florence’s mother Big Mama was half-Scottish,’ she says. ‘We all used to wonder why she was so white and so much bigger than us, but then one day Granny told us that her father was a Scotsman.’ She then recalls a troubling story. ‘Granny said that the Indian women would be working out in the rice fields and it was then that most of the rapes would take place. No one would hear them scream … it was only nine months later that they had to deal with the consequences.’

The Baillies were part of an Inverness network of Scots, including the Frasers, the Inglis family and the Chisholms, with substantial plantation interests in Guyana. However, slave ownership wasn’t confined to the wealthy, ordinary working people had a chance to buy slaves too. Alston has compiled a comprehensive index of more than 600 people from the Highlands with connections to Guyana before emancipation.

He says: ‘Ordinary Highlanders had an opportunity to buy slaves themselves, they were seen as property as part of someone’s capital. Guyana offered some the prospect of making a fortune, even for those of limited means, if they were prepared to start work as clerks, overseers and tradesmen. The key to success was to own slaves.’

On Alston’s website is a quote from Donald Mackay, a clerk, who states in 1806, a year before abolition, ‘[The] only encouragement to live in so baneful a climate was the benefit derived from owning some Negroes, their wages being barely sufficient for the necessities of existence.’

A study of the compensation records for plantation Dochfour highlight ordinary working people such as James Fraser, a carpenter from Inverness, who went to Demerara and worked on that plantation. He built up his own gang of slave carpenters, which he hired out to landowners and was prosperous enough to subscribe 10 guineas to the Northern Infirmary in Inverness in 1798.

Fraser’s story was far from unique. Henry Dalton, writing in 1855 in The History of British Guiana, states: ‘Among the numerous parties emigrating from Europe to this colony a large proportion was from Scotland, for the most part of humble extraction, uneducated and glad to accept of any opening that presented itself; they exemplified the well known caution and parsimony of their race and, from ‘the humblest, gradually rose to fill some of the highest situations’.[iv]

Alston explains: ‘It was a weird accident that so many people from the Highlands went over. Plantations employed all sorts of people: carpenters, gardeners, bookkeepers and doctors were needed. Scotland had a good education system and the population was mobile. Tacksmen [priniciple tenants in Highlands after landowners] led immigrations and looked for opportunities.’

Despite Guyana’s distance and dangers (many Scots succumbed to yellow fever), the reward was seen as worth the risk. The benefits were many: there were people returning from Guyana buying land and estates and improving farms in Scotland, and the plantation economy also fired industrial wealth back at home.

Alston states: ‘The livelihoods of some of the poorest people in Cromarty depended on what was going on in the Caribbean. There is a red sandstone building near the harbour which was established in the 1770s as a proto factory: it imported hemp from St Petersburg and employed 250 people and 600 out-workers – more than the population of Cromarty now – to bag and sack sugar.’

The economic benefits of slavery had a trickle-down effect on every part of the Scottish economy: there was boom in herring fishing in the Highland lochs, as this salted-down fish was a major export to the Caribbean as a source of slave nutrition, rich in protein. Similarly, in the Outer Hebrides, many ordinary working people were employed in the manufacture of rough linen, known as slave cloth, for export to the colonies. In fact, Cromarty profited so much from the slave trade that it was one of the towns that petitioned against its abolition.

Notable buildings in the Highlands also received donations from slave owners, so the Inverness Royal Infirmary, and Inverness and Tain Academy received substantial receipts from Demerara and Berbice.

There were other less beneficial effects for Scotland; slave traders often brought their practices home with them. George Rainy, the son of a minister in Sutherland, rose through the ranks in Guyana, eventually being made a partner in Sandbach, Tinné and Co. He used his newly acquired fortune to purchase the island of Raasay in Sutherland in the Highlands and employed his plantation practices on the island, forbidding Scottish tenants to marry in much the same way he had slaves. He later evicted all tenants. The iconic poem Hallaig by Sorley Macclean is about one such clearance on the island but, as Alston confirms, ‘that clearance only took place because of Scots who had made their money in Demerara’.

Highlanders also have the dubious accolade of pioneering the first shiploads of Indian indentured labourers to Guyana following slavery’s abolition. John Gladstone (Guyanese planter, father of the future British Prime Minister and the man who received £106,769 in compensation from the state for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations, the equivalent of approximately a modern £80 million) wrote to Frances Mackenzie Gillanders of Gillanders & Company in Calcutta, requesting a new source of cheap and easily controlled labour.

Gillanders had already sent Indians to Mauritius under five-year contracts and was keen to fulfil Gladstone’s request. He perceived no difficulty with the new recruits, declaring they have ‘few wants beyond eating, sleeping and drinking’, referring to the ‘hill coolies of India’ as ‘more akin to the monkey than the man’, unaware of ‘the place they agree to go to or the voyage they are undertaking’.[v]

The arrival of the ships Whitby and Hesperus in Guyana in 1838 would herald the movement of over half a million Indians to the Caribbean to work under overseers in the sweltering plantations, until the end of the practice in 1917.

Today, Guyana is one of the poorest countries in the globe and in 2016 the World Health Organisation stated that the small nation had the highest suicide rate in the world (30.2 per 100,000). Desperate rural poverty and its bedfellows – violence, and drug and alcohol abuse – all have a role to play in this tragic inheritance of a people forcibly uprooted from their homes, whose culture and names were erased long ago.


Credit: Yvonne Singh
A wilful amnesia

What is shocking, given the extent of the involvement of Highland Scots in the history of Guyana, is the way their role has been airbrushed from history. Not many  Scottish people would have a clue where Guyana is or of its importance to their own nation’s industrial growth.

In 2014, a group of writers were asked to contribute poems reflecting on Scotland and slavery to a collection entitled Yonder Awa, edited by Louise Welsh ― the phrase is from Walter Scott’s 1817 novel Rob Roy and is uttered by the slave merchant Nicol Jarvie on explaining the origin of the limes in his punch: ‘“[They] were from his own little farm yonder-awa.” (indicating the West Indies with a knowing shrug of his shoulders)’.[vi]

The poet Malika Booker, who is of both Guyanese and Grenadian heritage, writes of collective amnesia:

So it was that the rum came to be from yonder awa awa, and the black ants lifting heavy load in that heathen land became yonder awa awa. Til your memory grew awa awa … and the land had broad back – you forget, and the land dash you awa – you forget … look how you can’t run awa awa from the truth.[vii]

The black Scottish poet and novelist Jackie Kay, writing in The Guardian in 2007, said: ‘Scotland is a canny wee nation when it comes to remembering and forgetting. The plantation owner is never wearing a kilt.’

There has been a wilful obfuscation of the truth: Scots have been portrayed as abolitionists, reformers and liberal champions, and so David Livingstone is remembered fondly as is Scotland’s role in abolition, while the slave-owning firms of Sandbach Tinné, John Gladstone, HD and JE Baillie, CW&F Shand, Reid Irving and others, with their cruel, exploitative trade, are referred to euphemistically as ‘West Indian merchants’.

Unlike in Liverpool, Bristol or London, there is little acknowledgement of public buildings funded by the slave trade in Glasgow. Buchanan Street, Glassford Street and Ingram Street are named after notorious slavers, but there is no mention of this in the city’s history. Similarly, Jamaica Street, Tobago Street and Kingston Bridge simply exist, the story of how they came to be unacknowledged. Even stark imagery like the St Andrew’s Cross in the Jamaican flag is a connection left unexplored.

‘The research I was doing in the 1990s felt very lonely,’ says Alston. He recalls the opening of the Museum of Scotland in 1998. ‘Despite huge sections devoted to Scotland and the world, there was not a mention of the slave trade or the slave-based plantation economies, which supported the rise of Scotland’s industrialisation.’

He continues: ‘The story sits very uncomfortably with the narrative that people want to tell about Scotland and Highlanders.’

Alston explains that in some ways Scotland’s own historic grievances, specifically the Highland Clearances (when tens of thousands of Highlanders were forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for large-scale sheep farming), make it unable to confront the past. He says: ‘If you want to portray yourself as a victim, the last thing you want to do is be the victimiser, and it is difficult for that to change because it is so embedded in the Scottish view of itself and the Highlands view of itself.’

‘In Sutherland County there is a memorial to the clearances funded by a Canadian whose ancestors were cleared [the Emigrants Statue]. The tone on the inscription is very much that the Scots enlightened the world. [“The Emigrants commemorates the people of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland who, in the face of great adversity, sought freedom, hope and justice beyond these shores. They and their descendants went forth and explored continents, built great countries and gave their enterprise and culture to the world…”]. There was talk of putting replica statues up in all the places that Scots went to … I wonder if they will put one up in Georgetown, Guyana.’

This view of Scotland as the victim is enmeshed in politics, in Scottish nationalism (of a Scotland bullied by its large English neighbour), which is perhaps why it has been so difficult for Scotland to address its past.

Helen Cameron, who now lives in Australia, visited both Cromarty and Guyana, in an attempt to trace her roots. Helen is related to the Camerons of Glen Nevis: John Cameron, her great-great-great-grandfather came to Berbice in the early 1800s and set up a plantation with his kinsman Donald Charles Cameron. Accounts of their time there include shipments of coffee, cotton, rum, sugar, and the sale and hire of slaves. John Cameron had a relationship with Elizabeth Sharpe, ‘a free coloured woman’ (a descendant of slaves), who is on the register as owning eight slaves, and they had seven children. It is possible they married after 1812, when marriage between ‘free coloureds’ and whites was permitted.

The couple’s five sons all emigrated to Australia, while the daughters remained unmarried. This path may have been chosen because they were mixed race and hoped the new colony would be more accepting.

Helen writes by email: ‘It will seem strange that I did not make the intellectual connection of being a descendant of a plantation owner as also being a descendant of a slave owner. I was slightly taken aback when the manager of the hotel where we stayed in Guyana said, ‘This is the first time I have met the descendant of a slave owner.’

She continues: ‘I had known that the family had plantations, but I do confess that until this research I had not considered who actually worked these plantations. I was also ignorant of Britain’s dependence on slavery.’.

‘I hope my ancestors were benevolent slave owners’, she writes. ‘I do not like to think they were inhumane, even though, as one person in Guyana said, “Why would you think otherwise”’


Scotland’s role in empire does not belong in the margins or footnotes: Highland Scots had a huge role to play in the large-scale trafficking of human beings for profit.

I believe that however unpalatable this history is, it is a shared one, and contributes to our understanding of race, our place in the world, and how the movements of people from long ago fits with our story now. To obscure these facts is to rob individuals of their stories all over again, and to deny them any sense of belonging or place in the world. An ignorance about how a country is peopled gives rise to nationalism and in turn xenophobia, conditions that I can vouch are all too familiar in Brexit Britain. It is impossible to learn from our past if we haven’t taken any measures to accept it.

Today, steps are being made to acknowledge Scotland’s slaving past: there is a campaign to establish a museum of slavery, and for memorials and plaques to go up across the country on statues, streets and homes linked to the slave trade. In September 2018, Glasgow University published a report, revealing that the institution benefited directly from the slave trade, despite its leading role in the abolitionist movement – receiving bequests of almost £200m in today’s money.

The university has now launched a ‘reparative justice programme’ that will involve the creation of a centre for the study of slavery and a memorial or tribute at the University as well as a collaboration with the University of the West Indies.

In an attempt to address education and the lack of knowledge in the curriculum about the subject, there have been past initiatives such as Looking Back to Move Forward: Slavery and the Highlands, a collaboration between the University of the Highlands and Islands and students at the Inverness Royal Academy in 2011, and there are plans for a graphic novel, Freedom Bound by Walter Pleece, which tells the stories of three slaves, to be delivered to every Scottish school. And as I write this piece, David Hayman’s documentary, Slavery: Scotland’s Hidden Shame, is being aired on BBC Scotland.

In Cromarty’s graveyard, the mid-morning sun slants across the gravestones pockmarked with moss and lichen, illuminating the faint inscriptions. The statue of Hugh Miller, the town’s famed geologist and writer, perched Nelson-like on top a high column, overlooks the scene. I read the carved words on one crumbling grey stone that has sat in this cemetery for more than 150 years. It says: “John Munro late of Demerara.” Less clear is Berbice on another stone. A mere 20 miles south-west of this cemetery, at Gilchrist near Muir of Ord, is an ornate mausoleum containing the well-preserved tomb of Gillanders – he of the famous monkey quote. One truth remains: however hard we try to erase our past, it has a habit of not staying buried for long.

Credit: Eddie Singh


With thanks to Dr David Alston, Helen Cameron-Tucker, UCL Legacies of British Slave Ownership and the staff at the British Library.

[i] Nicholas Draper, ‘Scotland and Colonial Slave Ownership: The Evidence of the Slave Compensation Records’ in Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past, ed TM Devine, Edinburgh University Press, 2014: p168

[ii] Extract from UCL Legacies of British Slave Ownership project

[iii] David Alston, ‘The Habits of these Creatures in Clinging to One Another’ in Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past, ed TM Devine, Edinburgh University Press, 2014: p112

[iv] Henry Gibbs Dalton, History of British Guiana vol 1, Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1855: p307

[v] John Scoble, Hill Coolies: A Brief Exposition of the Deplorable Condition of the Hill Coolies in British Guiana and Mauritius and of the Nefarious Means by Which They Were Induced to Resort to these Colonies, Harvey and Darton, 1840: p5

[vi] Walter Scott, Rob Roy, Archibald Constable, Edinburgh, 1817, p299

[vii] Louise Welsh, ed, Yonder Awa: Poetry from the Empire Café, the Empire Café/Collective Architecture, 2014


About the Author

Yvonne Singh

Yvonne Singh is a journalist, writer and editor based in Kent, England, and has spent more than two decades working in national newspapers and magazines. She was a staff journalist at The Guardian and her work has appeared in that paper as well as The Observer, The Mirror, The London Evening Standard, BBC world website […]