As you’d imagine I’ve been digging around to see if there are things relating to our bit of London, and came across the story of Ignatius Sancho a slave brought to Greenwich as a child where:
They kept Sancho as a pet, denying him an education in the belief that it would make him more obedient. The Duke and later the Duchess of Montague who lived on nearby in Blackheath would eventually take Sancho into their home, support his education and independence.
Sancho became a great man of letters, and following his death in 1780 they were collected and published. In his lifetime he studied the arts and Garrick and Sterne became well acquainted with him. As well as writing, Sancho also composed music, all while running his grocer’s shop off Whitehall.
The first known African man to vote in England, Sancho was not part of the Abolition movement as it is now remembered, for that movement as we imagine it was one begun by the Quakers. But for those who were always seeking to abolish enslavement he was an important presence in the city, an inspiration for what could be achieved with a free life.
There’s more about slavery in Lewisham on the council’s website.