John Bridge Aspinall

John Bridge Aspinall
Hanging in the Large Ballroom of Liverpool Town Hall is the portrait of John Bridge Aspinall (1759-1830), by an unknown artist. The plaque currently in place (pictured below) describes him as “John Bridge Aspinall died in 1890 (sic), was a member of an old Liverpool family who for generations were active in local politics. A man of high reputation in his day and an influential Tory, he was elected bailiff in 1801. He was Mayor in 1803 and the portrait shows him in the robes of office.
The portrait was painted by an unknown artist.”
I think something more appropriate would read as follows:


John Bridge Aspinall (1759-1830) was the son of James Aspinall (1729-1787) a glazier-cum-slave trader. Between 1766 and 1807 the Aspinalls were involved in more than 190 slaving voyages, making them arguably the most prolific Liverpool slaving family, over just two generations. John’s father, James, was an investor in the voyage of the Infamous slave ship, ‘Zong’, on which 131 enslaved people were killed after being thrown overboard alive to allow the owners to claim on the ship’s insurance. John and his brothers followed in their father’s footsteps and continued the family’s interest in the slave trade after their father died in 1787. The Aspinalls remained involved up to abolition in 1807. After the slave trade was made illegal the Aspinalls would be one of the former slavers that invested heavily in the importation of West African palm oil into Liverpool, leading to the town dominating that trade throughout the nineteenth century. In May of 1804, John replaced William Harper as Mayor of Liverpool for the rest of the municipal year, 1803-04 and in the portrait he can be seen wearing the robes of office.
John Bridge Aspinall panel
John Bridge Aspinall Portrait