Lawyer restores grave of abolitionist who played leading role in Slave Trade Act

Paul Powlesland, 34, visited the headstone of James Stephen in London after reading a book about the abolition of the slave trade. The grave in St Mary Churchyard, Stoke Newington, directly references the role he played in helping to end colonial slavery. “I could only read it once I had written it back in.” A barrister, working for Lawyers For Nature, Mr Powlesland said: “I think it’s really struck a chord at a time we are reconsidering what history we want to celebrate and why. “In 1805, Stephen introduced an Act that would make it illegal to assist foreign shipping because we were at one with France at the time knowing that would take down two-thirds of the slave trade.