AN annual lecture will take place at a beautiful Warrington church this weekend.

At 3pm on Sunday the Rev Phil Waldron, the Minister of Ullet Road Unitarian Church, Sefton Park, Liverpool will be giving the annual Academy lecture at Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel on Cairo Street in the town centre.

His talk will be on William Roscoe, a prominent Unitarian whose outspoken opposition against the slave trade meant that abolitionism and Unitarianism were linked together in the public mind. He was a radical Liberal member of Parliament for Liverpool but, due to his opposition to slavery, he lost his seat.

During his brief period as am MP, he was able to cast his vote in favour of the successful abolition of the slave trade. In his interesting life, he was an historian, politician, art collector, lawyer, banker, botanist and writer but above all, he campaigned for the abolition of slavery.

Roscoe wrote a long poem published in two parts called The Wrongs of Africa (1787–1788) and entered into a controversy with an ex-Roman Catholic priest called Fr Raymond Harris, who tried to justify the slave trade through the Bible (and was generously paid for his efforts by Liverpool businessmen involved with the slave trade). Roscoe also wrote a pamphlet in 1788 entitled 'A General View of the African Slave Trade'. Roscoe was also a political pamphleteer, and like many other Liberals of the day hailed the promise of liberty in the French Revolution.

After the failure of a business venture with which he was connected, he was forced to sell his collection of books and paintings. Many of his paintings including those of the Italian Primitives are now in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.