The Mona campus of the University of the West Indies is located on the site of two sugar estates that dated back into the late-1700s: Mona Estate and Papine Estate. The larger Hope Estate is just to the north. Ruins dating from the estate period can still be seen on the campus site, which also sits on the site of a World War II evacuee and refugee camp.
This supports an interest in the period, even though the UWI Museum’s main focus is on the history of the university itself.
It also explains the special delight that Curator Suzanne Francis-Brown took in a visit from Kate Donington and James Dawkins of the University College London’s Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, who spent some time at the museum during a research visit to Kingston, Jamaica. The project, which started with a focus on records itemizing compensation granted to former slave-owners in the Caribbean at the end of slavery, now has a wider remit and is seeking to shine light on various legacies of slave-ownership that can still be traced in British commerce, culture, building heritage among other areas.
Kate and James are both working on aspects of the UCL project that seek to shed greater light on the structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership between 1763 and 1833 – when the abolition act ending slavery was passed.
Records relating to compensation claims by the then absentee owners of the Papine and Mona estates are among those on the Legacies database.