Storrs Hall, Windermere Creative commons image Credit: Ennor under CC-BY-NC-SA licence

John Bolton was a Cumbrian who made a fortune as a Liverpool slave trader. He bought Storrs Hall with some of the proceeds and used the residence to entertain in style, holding regattas on the lake which were attended by Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott amongst others. The hall is now a luxury hotel.

As John Bolton's wealth indicates, the slave trade was a profitable business. Following the Spanish and Portuguese, the first English slave-trader was John Hawkins 1532-95. In 1562 he sailed to the west coast of Africa and captured and enslaved 300 Africans who he then took to the Caribbean to trade them for tropical goods (such as sugar and tobacco). Hawkins made his money by returning home to sell these goods at a huge profit. This completed the so-called slave triangle.

Map of Northern England Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University

Hands on History - Primary and Secondary Sources

To find out what life was like for John Bolton at Storrs Hall, Philippa was able to look at paintings from the period, which are on display at Storrs Hall and she also read John's biography which gave an insight into his life.