THIS is very much a study in progress. Until very recently, it was believed that the slave trade was focused on ports like Liverpool and Bristol which faced the Americas and Africa. But John Charlton has started to discover how the extremely lucrative trade stretched its tentacles into the North-East, with many famous families owning slaves and plantations.

The curiosity is that the region, with its history of radicalism, Methodism and Quakerism, was among the loudest in shouting about the evils of the trade but doesn’t seem to have turned on its own who were profiting from the trade.

Superbly illustrated, this book is a fascinating beginning.