Garstang world's first Fair Trade Town sign

Since Garstang declared as the world’s first Fair Trade Town it has become part of its local heritage and along with the British Transatlantic slave trade and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) make up the three interrelated local heritage themes that lie at the centre of The FIG Tree’s exhibition.

In the same year Garstang declared its unique status a local youth group took part in the Garstang Go Global project that included a visit to Ghana to explore Fair Trade through the cocoa farming cooperative Kuapa Kokoo and the slave trade by visiting the slave trade forts at Cape Coast and Elmina.

Arrival of Thomas Clarkson's chest in Garstang 2013

Once The FIG Tree was established in Garstang it succeeded in winning a Heritage Lottery award for their Fair Trade, slave trade and Quaker heritage project in 2012/13. The project focused on Garstang as the world’s first Fair Trade Town, Lancaster as Britain’s 4th largest slave trade port in the 18th Century and Quakers who were paramount in the abolition of the slave trade and also founded in 1652 in the area north of Lancaster known as ‘1652 country’. Part of the project included the writing, design and production of the ten unique FIG Tree Panels that include:  a welcome from Madam Ferida, cocoa farmer in New Koforidua; the ‘Garstang Story’; the slave trade triangle; campaigning for justice; what is a Fair Trade Town? the Fair Trade triangle; Fair Trade Towns branching out around the world; the Fair Trade Way; Thomas Clarkson and Quaker belief and convictions.

In 2015 The FIG Tree was again successful in winning another Heritage Lottery award that would build on the exhibition and help the Centre relocate to St. John’s church in Lancaster. This project focuses on two aspects of Lancaster’s social and economic heritage – the history of St John’s Church, built at the height of the city’s prosperity during the slave trade, and the involvement of Dodshon Foster, a wealthy Quaker slave trader living and working in Lancaster during this period.


Sadly due to the floods in December 2015 The FIG Tree has been forced to leave St. John’s church and is now reviewing its future.
The project has continued however and will be completed in March 2017.

As part of the project we have developed educational workshops and delivered them to local schools



We ran a series of events in March 2017 under the title of 210 Abolition – Lancaster Slave Trade Port to Fairtrade Town. More details can be found on our past events page.


Join the FIG Tree as a volunteer or become a member