It is extraordinary - but it seems just about every small corner of this country has some connection or other with the slave trade.

To commemorate the abolition of this dreadful money-spinner, the Museum of Richmond is currently holding a small exhibition called 'Trading in Human Lives - the Richmond Connection'.

This beautiful borough of ours has played its own admittedly small part in the sorry slave business - beautifully and succinctly explained on seven huge illustrated panels.

They have clear titles - Britain's part in the transatlantic slave trade; The West Indies connection in Richmond; The black presence in Richmond as a result of the slave trade; Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) an African man of letters; The road to abolition; The African legacy and finally Richmond voices - local people commenting on the trade.

One of the most eye-catching and interesting is the one about Ignatius Sancho. This fine fellow worked for the Montagu family who had a house in Richmond. There is a reproduction of a painting showing the stately building in a prime position on the banks of the river.

Sancho was encouraged to read and study so he rose from being a slave/servant, to valued retainer, to independent tradesman and respected man of letters.

There is also a reproduction of a portrait of Ignatius Sancho showing him wearing a smart jacket over a very elegant red velvet waistcoat trimmed with gold braiding.

On another panel there is a picture of the headstone of Jennet, the second wife of West Indian trading merchant Henry Lascelles - and we can see that for ourselves in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalen Church in the centre of Richmond.

As well as these fascinating panels, don't overlook the small glass showcase containing allied objects. There's a copy of a book by George Wakefield, a Richmond vicar much involved in the abolition movement - and some very pretty china to illustrate the sugar trade. One little tea bowl (no cups with handles in the 18th century!) and saucer with willow pattern decoration is in mint condition.

The show runs until July 28.

Helen Taylor