Tour details

Frederick Douglass in 1880. He visited Belfast in the 1840s.


The Anti-Slavery Belfast Tour explores the lesser known history of Belfast’s complicity in the transatlantic slave trade and the city’s valiant role as a hotspot of abolitionist activism from the late 18th century to the mid-Victorian era.

It catalogues the broad story of Belfast’s involvement with slavery and places it in the wider historical, socio-economic and global context. It also examines the role of Belfast’s leading families in the eighteenth century who profited from slave trade but how their descendants would become leading Belfast activists for the abolition of the trade and institution of slavery.

The tour covers a wide range of aspects of Belfast’s slavery story including:

-Belfast’s richest man and slave owner, with a Caribbean sugar plantation named ‘Belfast’.

-Descendants of merchants who profited from slavery and became ardent abolitionists.

-How a Belfast watchmaker sank the Belfast Slave Ship Company.

-Tales of fugitive slaves who arrived in Belfast as stowaways in ship’s cargo.

-Former slaves who visited Belfast to tell of the horrors of slavery.

-The memorials that will soon be raised in Belfast to commemorate noted abolitionists.

US anti slavery campaigner William Lloyd Garrison


START: The tour is 2.5 hours long and departs from the Salmon of Knowledge (The Big Fish, details below). There will be a 30min break in the middle for refreshments. Exact timings will vary depending on whether the tour is scheduled through Eventbrite or organised privately.

MEET: at The Salmon of Knowledge (The Big Fish), Donegall Quay, Lagan River bank (postcode BT1 3NG). This is by the Lagan Weir footbridge and behind the Customs House.

END: 2.5 hours later near the Statue of Queen Victoria, Belfast City Hall (postcode BT1 5GS).

COST: 22.50 GBP per adult (16 and over); minimum group is 5 adults, maximum is 15.

INCLUDED: tour guide.

EXCLUDED: refreshments/transport.

Design for abolitionist medallion. Designed by Henry Webber (British, 1754-1826) and modeled by William Hackwood (British, ca. 1753-1836)


• Wear comfortable shoes.

• Be prepared for rain; dress appropriately; Belfast weather is changeable!

• Use designated crossings to cross roads.

• Most of tour on pedestrian areas; all flat, no stairs.

• Be aware of cyclists, traffic and street crime (e.g. don’t flash money around).