The slave traders who lived in Halifax

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I read with great interest about the publication of the new book Slavery in Yorkshire (“Battle to end mill slavery”, Nostalgia, November 30) about the terrible conditions in which men, women and children were exploited in the early 19th century and the way in which brave men like Richard Oastler campaigned against this evil system.

A little-known and sinister aspect of the history of Halifax concerns a slave captain who had traded in humans from Africa, who was a regular visitor to the town. His son, also a slaver, lived in Halifax.

Captain Francis Ingram (1740-1815), originally of Wakefield, stayed at times in Halifax during the 1790s, probably at the house in Woolshops where his son later lived.

In his earlier years he had made a fortune out of trading in slaves and set up a bank in Wakefield from the proceeds. He later opened a branch in Halifax, operated by two of his sons.

His son, William, who lived in Halifax from before 1790, and whose children were baptised here, operated as a banker and while living here made a slaving voyage out of Liverpool in 1800.

In 1810, during a critical time for many small banks, Ingram’s Bank got into difficulties. Matters became critical and in March a firm of Halifax attorneys called a meeting of the bank’s creditors.The bank was closed and it and the house, the dwelling of the late resident partner, Henry Ingram, were advertised to be let or sold.

Somewhere in Halifax Minster lie the remains of Willam’s daughter, Anna Maria Ingram; she was buried in May 1803, aged almost seven months.

The Ingrams eventually moved back to Wakefield and most are buried in the cathedral there.

While not forgetting those involved in this terrible trade we should also be thankful that local people were welcoming to the “great emancipator”, William Wilberforce, who came twice to Halifax and spoke in the Piece Hall.

He also attended the parish church, where his supporter and friend, Halifax vicar the Rev H W Coulthurst – born in Barbados to a slave-owning family – preached.

David Glover