London (CNN)The first ever index of investors in Britain's extensive slave trade is being compiled by academics, after the project received £1 million ($1.4 million) in funding from the UK government.
Every investor in Britain's slave trade set to be detailed in new 'dictionary' after funding from UK government
The Dictionary of British Slave Traders will detail the 6,500 members of society who took part in the trade throughout a period stretching more then two centuries.
It comes after a year of debate about Britain's celebration of its colonial past: A number of statues and public memorials to slave owners have been removed or renamed since Black Lives Matter protestors pulled down a sculpture of slaver Edward Colston in the city of Bristol in June.
William Pettigrew, professor of history at Lancaster University, who is leading the project, told CNN: "We're looking at the entire population of investors in the slave trade -- not just independent investors, but also the corporations that were involved."
The index will highlight the involvement of some high-profile investors, including the man widely considered Britain's first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole.
Set to be published in print and online around 2024, the project received £1 million in funding from the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council.
It will show how deeply the slave trade permeated British society, Pettigrew said. "It's not just this narrative of very, very wealthy merchants becoming extremely wealthy out of this horrific trade -- it's about the social breadth of investment," he said, highlighting "the extent to which ordinary shopkeepers invested large proportions of their capital in slave trading voyages."