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Location notes
We do not know the exact location Ridley stayed at in London so have given the estimate of central London on Downing Street.
Date notes
There is no recorded date of Ridley's departure from Demerara to England. We have located it between 1823 and 1828 due to the recorded birth places of his children - his third child Joseph Beete was born in Demerara in 1823, while his fourth child Lewis Forrester was born in London in 1828. This suggests the Ridleys remained in Demerera until at least 1823, reaching Britain by 1828. Ridley was also Recorded as administrator of Vreed en Hoop and Turkeyen and Henrietta as late as 1826. Though it is possible he was an absentee administrator, we have given the estimated date of 01-01-1827 for his arrival in England. [1]
Biographical information
Ridley and his wife Mary had nine children: Charles (b. Demerara, 1819, died 1848 WA), Eliza (1821, Demerara, died 1834 WA), Joseph Beete (b.1823 Demerara, died 1893 Toodyay), Lewis Forrester (b.1828 London, died 1898 London), Mary Forrester (b.1833 WA, d.1835 WA), Ellen Bull (b.1836 WA, d.1891 WA), Harriet McKenzie (b.1838 York, d.1838 Perth), Susan Hinds (b.1842 WA, d.1919 Perth), and Elizabeth (b.1846, WA ‘deceased’?) The births of third child Joseph Beete in Demerara in 1823, and fourth child Lewis Forrester in London in 1828, suggest the Ridleys remained in Demerera until at least 1823. Ridley was also recorded as administrator of Vreed en Hoop and Turkeyen and Henrietta as late as 1826, however it is possible he was an absentee administrator and was not in fact living in Demerara at this time. We assume that Ridley and his family were in England by 1828, before moving on to Western Australia.
Links to slavery
Ridley was Attorney of Vreed en Hoop ('Peace and Hope') plantation, as well as of Turkeyen and Henrietta. Attorneys had a lot of authority within the Caribbean plantation management system - they were responsible for managing the estates of 'absentee' owners (those who owned plantations but lived elsewhere). By 1832 over 80% of the large sugar plantations had absentee owners, which allowed attorneys to amass considerable wealth. [1] Turkeyen and Henrietta was a major sugar plantation. It was purchased by Liverpool merchant and absentee owner John Gladstone in 1828, and by the time of the emancipation there were 415 enslaved people held there. [6, 1] Slavery heritage of Demerara: Demerara is today part of what is known as Guyana. Some of the earliest settlers of Guyana were Arawak, Carib, and possibly Warao. Although Christopher Columbus sighted the Guyana coast in 1498 and Spain claimed the area, the first Europeans to colonise the land were the Dutch in the late 16th century. In the mid-17th century the Dutch began bringing over enslaved people from West Africa to cultivate sugarcane. From the 1740s, English settlers from Caribbean islands began to move in on the region, first on the island of Wakenaam, then on the coast of Essequibo, followed by Demerara. By 1760, the British were the largest contingent in Demerara. During the Napoleonic wars the British and French in particular fought over the land, but in 1796 the British captured the territories and except for short intervals held 'possession'. In 1831 the British combined Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice to form 'British Guiana'. In 1823 Demerera was the site of one of the greatest uprisings of enslaved people in history: the 1823 Demerara rebellion involved over 10,000 enslaved people and was crucial in the dismantling of Caribbean slave systems. [1]
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour