On my recent visit to the US, we stopped off in Natchez, Mississippi, on the way home from touring around some of the southern states. Downtown Natchez has many old, characterful houses and mansions dating from the Victorian era.
The sun shone, spring flowers were blooming, and it was an enjoyable experience to wander around this district which has so many well-preserved listed historic houses.
A horse-drawn carriage complete with tourists and a guide clip-clopped along one of the quiet roads. The guide was telling his passengers about the cotton which was grown in the area; many of the houses were built by owners of the cotton plantations.
I heard him say that much of the cotton was shipped to Manchester where it was spun and woven into cloth in the mills. One of those mills – Quarry Bank Mill – is close to where I live, is owned by the National Trust, and is an interesting museum to visit. Cotton was king then, but what we might forget is that the wealth and prosperity that it brought to the deep south and to damp, business-oriented Manchester was dependent on the slave trade.
So for me, there was a bit of an edge to the undeniably pretty roads lined with attractive historic houses because of the underbelly of slavery.