The 35th World Traders Tacitus Lecture - Guildhall

Thursday 24th February 2022

Finance and the City in the Age of Reckoning – Professor David Olusoga

The Worshipful Company of World Traders have been organising the annual Tacitus Lecture since 1988, giving a platform to prestigious speakers to stimulate and encourage discussion about important issues affecting world trade. This year’s speaker was Professor David Olusoga, author, broadcaster and historian, who took as his subject: “Finance and the City in the Age of Reckoning”. His subject touched upon the historic role of the City in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and in particular the parts played by Edward Colston, John Cass and William Beckford; the fate of Colston’s statue in Bristol is well-known; less well known, perhaps, is the presence of statues of Cass and Beckford in the Guildhall itself. Professor Olusoga also noted that the Guildhall was the location for the first Zong trial in 1783, which became a catalyst for the abolitionist movement. It was a thought-provoking lecture, tying in the historic narrative with the very real issues at play in the world today.