Sweet History landmark (photo)

Guinea Street

Date: Stuart period (1603-1714), Georgian period (1714-1837)

This street is named after the gold coin called a guinea, which took its name from a country on the West African gold coast. There was also an elephant and a castle on some of these coins. These symbols came from the badge of the Royal African Company. They were the only British company allowed to trade in Africa before 1698. The pub The Golden Guinea still stands on the street.

Merchants and ships’ officers lived in the houses on Guinea Street. Captain Edmund Saunders lived at numbers 10-12. He was in charge of 20 slaving voyages and was also a Warden of nearby St Mary Redcliffe Church from 1732-1739.

A local sea Captain named Joseph Holbrook lived on this street. In 1759 he put out an advert that offered a reward for information that would help him capture his slave who had run away. The advert described the slave as: ‘a negro man, named Thomas, a native of the island of Jamaica… 5′ 6” high, speaks good English and wears a brown wig.’ No-one knows if Thomas was ever captured.

In 1797 a sugar house was set up on the corner of Lower Guinea Street. There were many other sugar houses nearby, processing sugar from the plantations.

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