Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

A few days ago, quite by chance, I came across a project being conducted by University College London and was somewhat taken aback to find the following entry in the database

UCL Legacies of British Slave-ownership

I did a bit more research and discovered a number of references to Gray, Whitworth and Gilbee and their connection to the slave trade.

Manuscript Sources for the History of the West Indies 1776

A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica

Jamaica Almanac 1921

Register of British and Foreign Shipping

And also entries in the Slave Registries from 1817 until about 1832

The partnership was dissolved in 1829 but Gray still continued his involvement until he was compensated in 1835.

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Interesting indeed, Angela.

My imagination, totally untrammelled by evidence, tells me that Edward Gray spent two or three decades up till 1807 exporting Ulster linen down the North-South side of the Triangular Trade Passage, bartering it for West African live goods to ship via the East-West Middle Passage, exchanged for pineapples from his Jamaican Estates for the homeward West-East Passage. Life continued to be good after the outlawing of the Slave Trade but the writing was on the Pinery Wall by 1829, what with the uppity ways of his charges in Kingston and hinterland, and with the Abolition of Slavery in the B.E. in 1834 he found himself scrabbling for compensation, ending up with a pittance in 1835. His last three years found him pining the loss of fresh  cultivars from Jamaica and Costa Rica and struggling vainly with the onset of wilt disease and fungal heart rot both in himself and his pinery.

I commend this account for inclusion in the History of Harringay House. I further propose that the thoroughfare  commonly referred to as 'Harringay Passage' be renamed 'Middle Passage' as memorial to those who made Harringay House and its Pinery possible.

I think you could well be right OAE!

I forgot to mention in my post that Edward Gray was a Quaker and his sister Mary married John Scandrett Harford (the Bristol Quakers who owned slave ships and traded brass works).

Yet I see that Edward Gray's nephew, John Scandrett Harford Jnr, after his older brother's death, left the Quakers to become an Anglican, a leading Abolitionist and close friend of Wilberforce, as well as a great improver of his Bristol estates, and a writer and biographer. In 1815, the year his father died,  he became friends with Cardinal Ercole Consalvi, Secretary of State to the Pope and Papal States, through whom he got an audience/meeting with Pius VII to ask for his influence in putting down the Spanish and Portuguese Slave trades. Not sure whether that played any part in King of Spain's decision to abolish the trade by 1820.....

So, many an interesting side shoot to old Abraham Gray's extended family!

All sounds very interesting. What is the first link aimed at? I get an empty search form. Is that right? Is that the bit that identifies the Edward Gray you've found as the Harringay one?

Does this link work?

UCL database

If not, just enter his name and then click on the orange coloured text to see how many slaves and the amount he received compensation for.


So, it certainly seems that is our our Gray. Fascinating stuff. Well done you for tracking that one down. 

" Charles McGarel - slave owner and philanthropist "

I love it

Intrigued by Charles McGarel and his brothers, not only for their North of Ireland origins and how slavery and sugar helped build Larne, but for their long career in Demerara - British Guiana, and Charles's close ties with the Hoggs. On my first visit to Guyana in 1983 my late uncle-in-law, Naranjan Poonai, filled me in with a lot of lore on the Hogg family's sugar interests in Demerara - after slavery times when Indian indentured labour was helping to make the future Hoggs - from the first Quintin to the latest - very comfortable on the Lords' benches and the woolsack.  Alas! unlike McGarels, Hoggs and McGarel-Hoggs I've spent more in Guyana than I've gained from it.

I wonder if this why he stipulated in his will that his art collection, all his land and buildings etc should be sold off? Could he have destroyed any paintings or drawings of Harringay House which is why we haven't been able to find images of it? Was it guilt or did he think that his assests may have been seized at some point in the future?,

I've got a copy of his will somewhere which may give us a clue but it's incredibly hard to read unfortunately.

Try it with some OCR software. It's so good now we have those silly capcha things.

Anyone that can decipher (with OCR or otherwise), please do. It's been something I've been avoiding for years!


Thanks John. I tried using OCR and it just came out as gobbledigook. It seems Intelligent Character (or Word) Recognition is needed to convert handwritten historical documents.



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