William Roscoe was born on 8 March 1753 in a public house in Mount Pleasant called the Bowling Green, where his market gardener father lived. Roscoe became a leading abolitionist. It was a very courageous step to take to speak out against African slavery in a town that had built much of it's wealth on the trade. He even served briefly as an MP for Liverpool, where his vote in 1806 helped to secure abolition. Other accomplishments were as a lawyer, a banker and a botanist, helping to create the Liverpool Botanical Gardens. Written works, such as on Lorenzo de Medici gained him worldwide acclaim as a major historian, while he also penned numerous poems including the popular Butterfly's Ball.

Image details: Sir Martin Archer Shee [Walker Art Gallery]