TV historian to pay tribute to anti-slavery pioneer
Published by webmaster for 24dash.com in Communities
Simon Schama will deliver a tribute to Granville Sharp
Author and TV historian Simon Schama will deliver a tribute to slavery abolition pioneer Granville Sharp in a memorial service at All Saints Church on July 8.
It will mark the completion of conservation work on Sharp’s tomb in All Saints churchyard.
The service, on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of Sharp’s death on 6 July 1813, is the culmination of a campaign to repair the tomb of the man known as the ‘father of the abolition movement’.
The conservation project was launched to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade this year, which has seen events taking place locally and across the country as well as TV documentaries by Professor Schama and others.
In only six months the Granville Sharp Working Group has persuaded the government to give the tomb a grade II listing and has raised £15,000 to repair it.
The work, which involves the replacement of some stone, started this week and is due to be completed on June 29.
The Granville Sharp Working Group is chaired by John Sheppard, who became aware of the poor state of the Sharp tomb while carrying out a borough-wide survey of sculptures.
Mr Sheppard said, “We are thrilled to have raised the funds to preserve the tomb of Granville Sharp for future generations and are extremely grateful to all those individuals and organisations who gave so generously.
"The grade II listing confirms the tomb is of national architectural and historical importance. Our aim in restoring the grave was also to get Sharp’s name better known to this and future generations so part of the money we raised will pay for the publication of a booklet about Sharp, which will be on sale in All Saints Church.”
Sharp, who lived his last years in Fulham and whose tomb is in All Saints churchyard, has been overshadowed in the public mind by William Wilberforce, the MP who pushed the landmark abolition bill through Parliament.
However, it was Sharp’s tireless work, teaching himself the law and fighting for the rights of runaway slaves from 1765 onwards, which led to the first legal breakthrough of the abolition movement in 1772 and ultimately to the passing of the bill banning British ships from carrying slaves in 1807.
Despite this, Granville Sharp did not receive a eulogy at his funeral on 13 July, 1813, due to a disagreement with the then vicar.
The present vicar of All Saints Fulham, the Rev Joseph Hawes, said, “Two hundred years later, we plan to put right that omission in a service to celebrate the life and achievements of Granville Sharp and we are delighted that Simon Schama, author of the acclaimed account of the slave trade, Rough Crossings, can be with us to speak about the life of this remarkable man.”
The Sharp memorial service is part of a year long series of events undertaken at All Saints to remember the abolitionist’s struggle, which included a community service on March 25th attended by more than 350 people as well as the Granville Sharp tomb restoration project.
The newly repaired grave will be on shown for the first time on the evening of the memorial service, with John Sheppard giving a graveside history talk at 5pm on 8 July for members of the Fulham Society. The service will begin at 6pm. All are welcome to attend.
Cllr Frances Stainton, H&F Council’s cabinet member for culture and heritage, said, “The repair of Granville Sharp’s tomb in such a short time since the launch of the campaign is a fantastic achievement and we were only too happy to support the project with a donation of £2,000. We are proud to honour this wonderful unsung hero who so deserves recognition.”
Cllr Stainton, council leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh and other community leaders are due to attend the service at All Saints.
Don't miss the 24dash.com audio bulletins for the latest news and information - http://www.24dash.com/podcasts