Spring steel slave whip, 1801-1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Slave whip with wooden handle and steel spring flail. Parts of the British economy were dependent on slavery, notably the sugar and later, the cotton trades. Punishment devices such as this whip might have been used on the 'middle passage' of slaves from West Africa to the Americas, or on plantations. It was collected by Sir Henry Wellcome on one of the many trips he made around the world finding items for his largely medical-related collection.