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Researcher to discuss British convict history in Bermuda

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An award-winning researcher will talk next month about the unsung contributions to Bermuda made by 19th-century British convicts.

The virtual presentation, called “Faint and weary by working in the burning sun: Britain’s convicts in Bermuda (1824-1863)”, is part of the National Museum of Bermuda’s Atlantic World lecture series.

Anna McKay, Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Liverpool, will highlight the lives and contributions of some of the 300 British convicts who arrived on the island in 1824.

She is to deliver the free talk on May 9.

The convicts, who departed for Bermuda from Spithead in Hampshire on the HMS Antelope, worked with enslaved and free persons to build much of the Royal Naval Dockyard.

While some died on the island, others remained for almost 40 years before being sent either to Australian colonies or back to England.

Dr McKay wrote about this topic for her PhD, which she earned from the University of Leicester in 2020.

She has written articles for publications including the Financial Times and The Guardian and was awarded the Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2022 for an article on the treatment of convicts’ corpses.

Historian Anna McKay will give a virtual lecture next month (Photograph supplied)

Elena Strong, NMB executive director, said the Atlantic World series was “one of many ways that the national museum is providing opportunities to learn about Bermuda’s past”.

She added: “It explores the links and the forces throughout the Atlantic World that helped shape Bermuda as we know it today.”

Some other lectures in the series highlight the early Atlantic age, the history of the slave ship Enterprise on the island, and a history of Bermuda stone in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dr McKay’s lecture will take place via Zoom at 5.30pm Bermuda time.

Visit nmb.bm/lecture to register for the presentation and access all others in the series

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Published April 26, 2024 at 3:14 pm (Updated April 26, 2024 at 9:03 pm)

Researcher to discuss British convict history in Bermuda

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