The Better Hour: A Documentary Film: THE BETTER HOUR: The Legacy of William Wilberforce
The Story of the Film
The Making of the Film
Buy the Book and DVD
Viewing the Film
High School Contest
The Book
Gatherings & Groups
Press Room
Contact The Better Hour
The Better Hour Documentary Film

The Making of the Film

The Better Hour filmmakers gained access in the Archives department of Parliament to the original Royal Assent from 1807, the document which ended the slave trade. Handled with white gloves by archive staff, the 1807 document was made from goat's skin and amendments stitched on top..

It was important for us to film the  original documents which ended the slave trade. Pictured here, in the House of Parliament Archives Division, we filmed the original British 1807 Act of Abolition of the Slave Trade. Instead of printing, the text was handwritten on parchment using the skins of eight sheep sewn together. The curled sections of parchment are amendments that were stitched on top of the original.

The Better Hour film crew also filmed the original Manchester Petition from 1806, estimated to contain some 2500 signatures, including women who were not allowed the vote but wanted to go on record as being against the slave trade, even though it was the bedrock of the economy for Manchester England..

We also filmed the  original Manchester petition, which was the first example of a mass petition to the House of Parliament. It contains some 2,500 names; and of particular interest is that it was the first time that the signatures of women appear on a petition.

This year the House of Parliament is working with the Manchester Historical Society to publicize the names on the petition and give citizens a chance for the first time to recognize whether their ancestors had signed the petition.

The film crew outside Lambeth Palace for an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.

An official national exhibit for the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans Atlantic slave trade will be from May 23, 2007 to September 23, 2007 in the Westminster Hall of the House of Parliament.

Historic prints were also photographed at the British Art Center at Yale University.

Top of Page