William Wilberforce (abolitionist)
Person Male Born 24/8/1759 Died 29/7/1833
Politician, philanthropist and slavery abolitionist. Born in High Street, Hull. Entered parliament in 1780 and became a close ally of William Pitt the Younger. He converted to evangelical Christianity and campaigned against indecency and immorality, founding the 'Society for the Suppression of Vice' in 1802. A cartoon of the time shows him using his top hat to cover the genitals of the naked statue of Achilles in Hyde Park. His son, also William, was in the dairy business but was so unsuccessful that William senior had to sell even his own home to repay his son's business debts. A leading figure in the Clapham Sect, his fame rests on his campaign to abolish slavery in the British West Indies, which was achieved in 1807. He went on to try to secure a total abolition, that resulted in the Slavery Abolition Act, which was passed one month after his death at 44 Cadogan Place, Chelsea. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.