Ignatius Sancho’s London Exhibit

Painting of Ignatius Sancho, a black man wearing a black overcoat and a red waistcoat with gold trim, overlayed on a map of London from 1793. In a black box there text that reads "Ignatius Sancho's London-Recovering Black Communities in the 18th Century" from New College of the Humanities.

This project showcases evidence about the life and times of Ignatius Sancho, one of the eighteenth century’s most important Black Britons. Born enslaved, Sancho came to occupy a unique position in London society that straddled the elite social worlds of the aristocracy and the everyday life of the city. These experiences are narrated in The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African (1782), an amazing collection that reveals a man who was at once a husband, father, entrepreneur, musician, abolitionist, literary writer – and the first documented Black person to vote in a parliamentary election. The interactive maps below reveal Sancho’s world as never before. It is a close-knit place, with Sancho observing events from his shop in the heart of Westminster and occupying a prominent role on London’s streets and social scene. But his life and letters show how Black people and voices travelled throughout the country, permeating society at every layer. The maps reveal a world connected to other transformative events shaping the life of the nation and the rest of the globe – from slavery and abolition to the rise of industry and empire – giving us all new insights from a Black perspective into what it meant to be British in the late eighteenth century.

Ignatius Sancho’s LONDON StoryMap

Interested in learning more about the remarkable life of Charles Ignatius Sancho in eighteenth century London? Explore the interactive narrative below built with ArcGIS StoryMaps to uncover the stories, people, and histories behind the Ignatius Sancho’s London Map.

Ignatius Sancho’s LONDON ArcGIS Map

The interactive ArcGIS map above allows users to explore the history of eighteenth-century London through the lens of Charles Ignatius Sancho on their own. Its layers consist of:

Key Locations for Ignatius Sancho: a collection of sites identified as being of particular historical significance to Charles Ignatius Sancho and his close family. 

Other Sancho Locations and Associates Locations: a layer consisting of other sites identified to be associated with Charles Ignatius Sancho and his wider social network of friends and family. 

Notable Black Londoners: A collection of sites showcasing the presence of notable Black Londoners around the lifetime of Charles Ignatius Sancho, including Dido Elizabeth Belle, Olaudah Equiano and Phyllis Wheatley-Peters. 

Other Black London locations: a layer showcasing the extensive presence of Black Londoners across the city around the lifetime of Charles Ignatius Sancho. 

Slaveholders and Beneficiaries: a layer showcasing the London addresses of slave-owners or direct beneficiaries of the slave trade, courtesy of UCL’s Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slavery database.