Lowwood - The African Triangle

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The Africa Triangle

By Ronald Mein

Africa Powder and The Africa Triangle
The first sales for the gunpowder product were of Africa Powder and powder for ships armaments. In those days the river Leven was navigable enabling the finished product to be taken down river in "Flatties" (Shallow draft, single masted vessels) which were used to transport goods extensively around Morecambe Bay.
One of the Flatties was actually called the "Lowwood".
Lowwood was especially built to take advantage of the very profitable slave trade that was rampant on the west coast of Africa.
Some of the gunpowder produced at Lowwood was known locally as Africa Powder because up to 1808 when slavery was abolished in Britain, gunpowder and other goods were taken to the west coast of Africa where they were sold or exchanged for slaves.
The ship would then sale on to America where the slaves were sold at auction and the money raised was used to buy cotton, sugar and tobacco etc. Having filled the vessels with their new cargoes the ships then sailed back to England where it was sold for a very large profit, the whole thing was then repeated.
When Britain abolished slavery in 1808 Lowwood expanded the blasting powder and sporting powder part of the business to compensate and at the same time it produced some military powder.

Times Change

We now look back on the slave trade and the way children were treated in the mills with a grate deal of distaste and rightly so; but we should remember that this was the way things were in those days and they were perfectly acceptable then. Children were treated very badly in the old mills and overseers were known to have killed a number of children for not working hard enough.
The slave trade had been going on for many hundreds of years before the English and other nations became involved. In fact African tribes used to capture slaves and sell them long before we became involved and to this day it still happens around the world even in European nations.
This does not excuse it, it was and still is a distasteful trade which should not be tolerated. Thankfully we now no longer are involved or treat workers in this way.


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