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Plaque unveiled at former home of anti-slavery campaigner

The unveiling of Bowly's plaque coincides with anti-slavery day. Photo: ITV West Country

A plaque has been put up at the former home of a man who campaigned against the slave trade.

Some of Samuel Bowly's distant relatives were in Gloucester to witness the unveiling.

The unveiling coincides with anti-slavery day.

Bowly's descendants attended the unveiling ceremony. Credit: ITV West Country

Bowly was a Quaker and although slavery had been outlawed by 1840 when he took part in the world anti-slavery convention, he campaigned hard against slavery in the rest of the world.

He also campaigned for temperance. He signed a pledge of total abstinence from drink in 1835 and worked to expose the dangers of alcohol all his life.

His great great grandson Anthony Barlow says his achievements were immense.

He fought all his life, continually, after Wilberforce, and he went up to see the prime minister, Lord Melville, at the time and he was rebuffed. He went again he was rebuffed, Until eventually he managed to change the law completely.

– Anthony Barlow, Great great grandson
The plaque says Bowly Credit: ITV West Country

Bowly died in Gloucester in 1884 and at his funeral the Gloucester Cathedral bells tolled.

Now his name on the house he once lived in is a permanent reminder of his achievements.

A timeline of Samuel Bowly's key dates:

  • 1802 - Samuel Bowly is born in Cirencester
  • 1827 - He marries Jane Dearman Shipley
  • 1837 Bowly leads deputation to Downing Street, where they discuss cruelty shown towards slaves with the Prime Minister
  • 1838 Bowly starts Central Negro Emancipation Committee and they get bill for the abolishment of slavery introduced into the House of Commons (which fails)
  • 1840 - Bowly attends International Anti-Slavery Convention
  • 1873 - Bowly remarries in Devizes to Louisa Cotterell
  • 1884 - Bowly dies. Gloucester Cathedral bells toll at his funeral