Posts Tagged ‘1820s’

William Lindsay was born in Newhills parish, son of a shoemaker, and followed that trade for a period. Lindsay then established himself as a newsagent and bookseller in the Gallowgate in the 1840s. He was a member of many radical political groups throughout his life.

In 1837 he became a member of an Owenite socialist committee which was formed after a lecture in Concert Court, Broad Street, held by the Owenite Robert Buchanan. A committee was formed with the purpose of keeping the subject of socialism before the attention of the people of Aberdeen. Buchanan started a democratic paper in Glasgow and Lindsay was appointed as the Aberdeen correspondent. In 1841 Lindsay and colleagues invited Robert Owen to Aberdeen and he came in spring 1842 and lectured in the hall of the Royal Hotel.

Lindsay also joined the Aberdeen chartists, was a founder member of the Aberdeen Liberal Association in 1877, founder member of the Northern Co-Operative Company and was a member of the Aberdeen Workmen’s Peace Association from 1875.

Lindsay was involved in other social issues, and in the 1840s, along-with fellow delegates from the different trades and sympathetic professional men and merchants, formed a Committee of Sympathy which provided food to poor families on Sundays.

Related entries: Committee of Sympathy.

References: Some Notes Personal and Public by William Lindsay (W & W Lindsay, Aberdeen, 1898) and Aberdeen 1800 – 2000 A New History (W Hamish Fraser & Clive Lee (eds.), Tuckwell Press, 2000).

Sources: unknown.


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There had been attempts to form an earlier society, in the 1788 – 1792 period, but that had proved unsuccessful. The Aberdeen Anti-Slavery Society though was founded at a public meeting at the Exchange News Rooms in Union Street in March 1825 (following the formation of organisations in Glasgow and Edinburgh in 1822/1823). Its officers and committee members came from a wider circle than just the city of Aberdeen, including towns and villages across the north-east. The Society was active in campaigning and sold anti-slavery publications via George Brantingham’s grocer shop in the Gallowgate (Brantingham, a Quaker, was a key player as Society treasurer and also in later years after the Society folded and was revived under a different name).

The Society ended in 1833 and was replaced in 1836 by a new Aberdeen Emancipation Society (it lasted until c.1853). Also, in 1840, an Aberdeen Ladies’ Emancipation Society was formed, with a group called the Aberdeen Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Association then active from 1843 – c.1849. Another organisation of the same name but perhaps a different organisation appeared again in 1857 and was active until c.1866.

References: article by C Duncan Rice ‘Abolitionists and Abolitionism in Aberdeen’ (Northern Scotland, 1972), The Scots Abolitionists 1833 – 1861 (C Duncan Rice, Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1981), Aberdeen and the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire, 1770-1833 (Glen Doris, unpublished dissertation, 2007), issues of The Anti-Slavery Reporter (British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society) and website ‘A North-East Story: Scotland, Africa and Slavery in the Caribbean’.

Sources: A few printed items, mainly annual reports are held at University of Aberdeen Library.

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