Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by: Hull Museums.

This resource enables pupils to explore the life and political and social achievements of William Wilberforce, the Hull MP, who was instrumental in the campaign to abolish British involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.


Note on Use of Language and Terminology

When talking about sensitive topics such as enslavement, racism and colonialism with your class, some of the language, terminology and ideas of the past are offensive today and need framing in terms of their historical context. Carefully using source material (letters, diaries, objects) as historical evidence is not a promotion of historical ideas, but a reminder of how easily humans can use propaganda and ideology to dehumanise others.

To help with this framing, you may wish to talk about ground rules with the class and look out for language around ‘otherness’ and difference. Current academic thinking is to use ‘enslaved person’ instead of ‘slave’; ‘enslavement’ instead of ‘slavery’, and ‘trafficking of enslaved Africans’ or ‘slaving’ instead of ‘slave trading’. This emphasises that ‘slave’ status was institutionally forced upon people and is part of a conscious attempt not to linguistically reproduce the violence of slavery that stripped people of their humanity (Referenced from work on Black history by Dr Amanda Kaufmann).


Curriculum Links

  • KS History: Significant Individuals
  • KS2 History: Black History
  • KS3 History: Britain's transatlantic slave trade; Local history study
  • KS3 Citizenship: The role of Parliament
  • KS4 Citizenship: Human Rights


Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of Britain's involvement in the Slave Trade and Wilberforce's role in the abolition of slavery
  • Understanding of the prevailing attitudes during this era and how Wilberforce's actions shaped history
  • Skills to interpret the role of the individual and analyse historical evidence


Audio Clips

A series of 19 short audio clips are available, in which actor Chris Cade reads the content of Wilberforce's famous 'Abolition Speech', which was delivered to Parliament on 12 May 1789 (see 'Resources'.) The full text is also available to download.


Hull Museum Education would like to thank the following people and organisations who contributed to the Wilberforce Education Project and also in the creation of these resources:

Wilberforce House Team - Hull Museums Service, Hull City Council, Kate Armitage, Nick Cass, Chris Cade, James Baker, IT Services Hull City Council, Hull City Learning Centre, Melanie Bonnington, Stepney Primary School, Hull, Maria Amidu and Anna Salaman, Understanding Slavery Initiative, Rob Yorke, Digital Learning Agency, Vicky Ellis and Alison Glew, MyLearning team.