Drawing of HMS Antelope, an armed paddle steamer built in Liverpool and launched in 1846. Antelope served with the Royal Naval Mediterranean fleet. In 1853 the ship was transferred to the Royal Naval anti-slavery patrol off the coast of West Africa, stationed at Fernando Po.
The British Government passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, and the following year established anti-slavery patrols. During the next few decades up to a third of the Royal Navy was deployed off the West African coast. The West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships, freeing 150,000 Africans.