How did money from slavery help develop Greater Manchester?

The Heywood family of Manchester

Founders of the Manchester Bank

During the 1780s, two brothers, Benjamin and Arthur Heywood, had businesses in Liverpool and Lancaster, under the names Parke & Heywood, and Parke, Heywood, & Conway respectively. Their main trade was linen, but they also dealt in African goods including ivory. The Lancaster firm was dissolved in May 1785 in order to set up the Manchester Bank.

Investments in slave trading

According to the historian David Richardson, the Heywood family invested in no less than 133 slaving voyages between 1745 and 1789. It is also possible that they had investments before 1745. Benjamin Heywood's two sons, Benjamin Arthur and Nathaniel, invested in voyages early and late in this period respectively, but the principal investors were the brothers Benjamin and Arthur. The closure of their investments in voyages coincided with their move into Manchester banking, but they retained connections with slavery through their banking business and possibly through the company Robinson and Heywood who were suppliers of textiles to James Rogers for slaving voyages in 1791-2.


As the Abolition Act of 1807 was being passed, the Heywood family of Bolton took up premises on Old Bank Street, Manchester as a firm of bankers. The family had given up their slave trading connections in the late 1780s.