The Hannibal Slave-Ship

  In 1693 the Royal African Company captain Thomas Phillips from Brecon, Wales set sail in the Hannibal from Gravesend to West Africa to purchase enslaved African people to be sold in Barbados. The journey was a disaster. 328 of his African captives died during the voyage, a horrific mortality rate of 47%. In 2018, while researching for the book Nautical Women, (BRHG, 2019), it was discovered that Brecon Town Council had erected a plaque to Phillips in 2010 without reference to his role in […]

Update – Brecon plaque commemorates slave trader

Should society memorialise a slave trader?

In the Welsh town of Brecon, upon an old wall, along Captains Walk (a name based on a fiction), is a slate plaque commemorating the life of a slave trader who resided in the town. The plaque was commissioned by Brecon Town Councillors in 2009, erected in October 2010 (during Black History Month), and makes no reference to the fact that Captain Phillips was a 17th century slaver. Captain Thomas Phillips was the commander of the infamous slave ship the Hannibal in the 1690s. He was directly […]

Should society memorialise a Slave Trader?

The curious story of Brecon Town Council and the Plaque in honour of Captain Thomas Phillips, Slave Trader (circa 1664-1713).

If you were to walk around the rear side of the former house and home of Captain Thomas Phillips in Brecon, located along Captains Walk, you will notice a rather handsome slate plaque memorialising his life. The Phillips’ family house is now St Ursula’s Convent, a former catholic school. The plaque was paid for by the people of Brecon, and was erected (though not without controversy), in 2010. It reads innocently enough: CAPTAIN THOMAS PHILLIPS Havard House, Brecon First made this Captain’s Walk […]