Shining a light on Galloway's dark history of smuggling and the slave trade

The next event in Galloway Glens ‘Hidden Culture’ programme will profile David Currie of Newlaw, lifting a lid on the dark history of smuggling and slave trading on the Galloway coastline.

By Brian Yule
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 12:29 pm
David Currie of Newlaw - Scottish Smuggling - Credit Wikimedia Commons
David Currie of Newlaw - Scottish Smuggling - Credit Wikimedia Commons

As part of the ‘Can You Dig It’ Community Archaeology project, Frances Wilkins, author of numerous books about smuggling and slave trading on the Solway Coast, will share her insights and knowledge with an online audience at 7.30pm on March 9.

Based on original research, Frances will be talking about Currie, a larger-than-life character even by 18th century standards.

Currie’s story will travels from Dumfries and Galloway to the Isle of Man and even America, following his desperate attempts to avoid bankruptcy.

The event will be introduced by Jan Hogarth, Galloway Glens education and community engagement officer.

She said: “This will be an opportunity to uncover, perhaps, a darker side of the history of smuggling and slave trading in the south of Scotland.

"For hundreds of years this dark history has remained hidden. Frances will shine a light on it and help us all find out more about what really went on and the multiple functions of the “merchant” boats that sailed from Kirkcudbright.”

Frances has published over 40 historical titles through her publishing company, Wyre Forest Press and has been a lecturer in Dumfries and Galloway for over 30 years.

In 2009 she was awarded the Black History Foundation’s Award for the best contribution to black history in Scotland for an exhibition at Kirkcudbright. She enjoys guiding smuggling trails from Annandale to the Bay of Luce.

Claire Williamson from the Can You Dig It project added: “It’s great to have Frances join us for this event and I can already think of so many questions that I want to ask.

"Living by the sea, I think that we’re all aware of Scotland’s smuggling past, but we might not realise how extensive it once was. We hope that you’ll join us as we take to the open sea for an unforgettable evening.”