Siân Davies

Thesis title: Sugar and Slate: A labour history of the Pennants and their estates in Jamaica and North Wales 1780 – c.1900


I grew up in North Wales and came to Edinburgh University for my undergraduate degree in History. During my undergraduate degree I spent my third year on exchange at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. After taking some time away from academia, I returned to Edinburgh in 2020 with funding from ESRC via the SGSS  to undertake my masters and PhD.


MSC by Research, Economic and Social History (2020 -21), Distinction.

MA (Hons) History (2014-18), First Class.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Edinburgh Centre for Global History

Edinburgh University's Economic and Social History Research Group

Worlds of Related Coercions in worK (WORCK) Network

Research summary

The Pennant family owned and managed sugar plantations in  Jamaica, worked on by enslaved, indentured and later free labourers, and Penrhyn slate Quarry in North Wales. Using the Pennant family and their sites of labour as a case study, my research considers the entangled history of transformation between Britain and the Caribbean from 1780 to c.1900. 

Current research interests

Global Labour History Legacies of Atlantic slavery and slave-ownership in Britain Racial Capitalism


First Annual Graduate Student Conference on Economic and Social History, The University of Edinburgh, Forthcoming, 7th July 2023.

Papers delivered

'The 'Making' of Idle and Industrious Labourers in Jamaica and North Wales',  Edinburgh Centre for Global History Graduate Workshop, The University of Edinburgh, 29 March 2023.

'Between plantation and Penrhyn Quarry:  Business and labour management at the end of the eighteenth century',  American Society for Eighteenth- Century Studies  (ASECS), St. Louis. 9 March 2023.

'Racialising the will the work: coercing transformation in and between Jamaica and North Wales', Worlds of Related Coercions in worK (WORCK), Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies,  19 January 2023.

'Bringing industrial capitalism home: Richard Pennant and his sites of labour in Jamaica and North Wales, 1782 - 1808', British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS), The University of Oxford, 4 January 2023.

'WIP, Bringing industrial capitalism home: Richard Pennant and his sites of labour in Jamaica and North Wales, 1782 - 1808',  Economic and Social History Research Group, The University of Edinburgh, 9 November 2022.