Today’s Fact & Surprise

Check out interesting facts and achievements from the Black and Asian community

Home Away For Asians

Workers mainly from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan arrived in the late 1950's and 1960's. Many worked in the foundries of the English Midlands and a large number worked at Heathrow Airport in west London. This created an environment to where the next generation of families did not lose their identity as easily. An example would be Southall which is populated by many Sikhs.

More Facts & Surprises

The Early Employment Restrictions for Migrants

The Navigation Act of 1660 restricted the employment of non-English sailors to a quarter of the crew on returning East India Company ships.Seems the restriction of migrant workers happened 358 years before Brexit.

Hughes Huge Home For Minorities

In 1856 The Strangers' Home for Asiatics, Africans and South Sea Islanders was opened in Commercial Road, Limehouse under the manager Lieutenant-Colonel R. Marsh Hughes.

Salman Slammed For Satanic Verses

The publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses in 1988 caused major controversy. Muslims condemned the book for blasphemy. On 2 December 1988 the book was publicly burned at a demonstration in Bolton attended by 7,000 Muslims, followed by a similar demonstration and book-burning in Bradford on 14 January 1989.In 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwā ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie

Moody - The Activist Doctor

In 1931, Dr Harold Moody founded the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931, the first Black pressure group and the largest British Pan-African organisation in the 1930s and 1940s.

Desai The Greatest Trade Unionist of All Time ?

Jayaben Desai  was a prominent leader of the strikers in the epic 2 year Grunwick dispute in London , 1976-1978. The dispute about low pay and "Zoo like " treatment of the mainly East Indian Workers. The strike captured the imagination and support of the wider Trade Union movement that had previously marginalised immigrant workers. This was seen as a turning point in UK Race Relations.

Cuffay - A Cut Above The Rest

William Cuffay  was a Black tailor who lived in London. He was one of the leaders and martyrs of the Chartist movement, the first mass political movement of the British working class. 

Serjeant Making History

Since 1415 Serjeant at Arms has been responsible for security and keeping order within the parliamentary estate which includes the House of Commmons. The current Serjeant ,Karmal El-Hajji is the first with a black or minority ethnic heritage.

WASU -The Birth of Leaders

The West African Student Union (WASU) was one of the most important political organisations in Britain from the 1920s until the 1960s. Members included Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Joseph Appiah who played an important role agitating for an end to colonial rule in Britain's West African colonies.

One Million Reached

The tripling of Britain’s black population from 300,000 to 1 million from 1961 to 1964 led to increased racial and class tensions, especially in London’s Afro-Caribbean community. These tensions led to more police repression and the creation of the British Black Panther Party..

Asians Are The One in Ten

Did you know that The Centre for Social Markets estimates that British Asian businesses contribute as much as 10% of total GDP?.

Uddin Makes History

In 1998, Manzila Pola Uddin, Baroness Uddin became a British life peer and the first Muslim and second Asian woman to sit in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The Black Community

Black people were an integral part of 18th-century British society. They worked in a wide variety of occupations, reacted to atrocities, campaigned to end slavery, became political activists, and had a lively social life. A strong support network existed among the Black population. For example, in June 1772 the Public Advertiser reported that 'a great number of Negroes, in and about the Metropolis', had raised a subscription to thank Lord Mansfield, believing that slaves in Britain had been emancipated by his ruling in the Somerset case. This legal victory was celebrated by a ball held at a Westminster pub, which attracted nearly 200 Black revellers.

The Black Pages

In London's coffee houses, Black children were sometimes sold as presents for upper-class ladies. Boys and girls with very dark complexions were particularly prized as pages; their 'blackness' helped to highlight the owner's pale complexion at a time when 'white' skin was seen as a sign of purity and beauty. These children were, in effect, viewed as pets by their owners. How happy these pages were is questionable. Newspapers frequently carried advertisements for a 'pet' to be restored to his or her master or mistress.

Enoch Powell Welcomed Immigration to the UK. FACT

Enoch Powell is known best for his notorious "Rivers of Blood" Speech in 1968 about the perils of excessive immigration. In the early 1960s the Conservative Health Minister, who recruited a large number of doctors from the Indian sub-continent was called?....…Enoch Powell.

The First Black Mayor of Britain

Bahamian Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns became the first black mayor in Britain when he was elected Mayor of Thetford, Norfolk, in 1904

Servants and Ayahs

The presence of Black servants in Britain was confirmed in a report published in 1764. Africans and Asians were employed as domestic servants and footmen in a variety of households, some of them famous. Samuel Pepys, the 17th century diarist, employed a 'blackmore' cook, who, he said, 'dresses our meat mighty well'. Joseph Nollekens, Royal Academy sculptor, employed a Black female servant nicknamed 'Bronze'.

Doing Yourself Justice

Nathaniel Wells wasa Black Man active in his local community; he was appointed justice of the peace in 1803 and subsequently sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1818. His death at the age of 72 was recorded in the Gentleman's Magazine of 13 May 1852.

Hindoostanee -The 19th Century Indian Coffee House

Dean Mohamed was born in Patna in 1759 to an elite Muslim family. His ancestors had served the Mughal rulers. He joined the British army in 1769 and later accompanied his employer, Captain Baker, to Cork in Ireland. By 1810, he had started a new life in London, establishing the Hindoostanee Coffee House in Portman Square.

The Poor Lascars From London

In 1786, the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor was founded in response to the numbers of destitute Indians walking the streets of London. Lascars, the Indian sailors who worked on East India Company and other ships, were promised their passage home - but the Company did not always fulfil its responsibilities and many of them were set adrift in England.

The Slave Army

Did you know that by the end of the 18th century, the British army had become the biggest single purchaser of African slaves?. Over a 12-year period, an estimated 13,000 Africans were purchased to serve the Crown.

Survival of the Fittest ?

In the 18th Century, Black and Asian men were recruited into the military because the British thought they were better able to survive than White troops, at a time when many more soldiers were killed by disease than in battle. Malaria and yellow fever were common among the troops, and their diet lacked fruit and vegetables, leaving them vulnerable to illness.

Taken By Surprise

In 1787, while collecting evidence in Manchester for the anti-slavery campaign, Thomas Clarkson was astonished to find a 'great crowd of black people standing round the pulpit. There might be forty or fifty of them.'

No Mixed Blessings

'Mixed' marriages were not welcome by all in 18th Century Britain. In 1773, one outraged correspondent wrote to the London Chronicle begging the public to 'save the natural beauty of Britons' from contamination.

Billy The King of The Beggars

Billy Walters was a Black street busker who entertained London's public. He had fought in the American War of Independence but appears to have ended up on the streets of London as one of the Black poor. From workhouse records, it seems that Billy became ill and spent his final days at St Giles's Workhouse where he was elected 'the king of beggars'. A verse from his will reads: Thus poor Black Billy's made his Will, His Property was small good lack, For till the day death did him kill His house he carried on his back. The Adelphi now may say alas! And to his memory raise a stone: Their gold will be exchanged for brass, Since poor Black Billy's dead and gone. Billy could often be seen outside the Adelphi Theatre, in the Strand, in the 1780s. He was identifiable by his wooden leg and military-style outfit, he was famously caricatured by the cartoonist George Cruickshank.

Captain Collingwood The Slave Killer

Captain Luke Collingwood faced with a large number of deaths due to overcrowding, had ordered that all sick Africans be thrown overboard. The aim was to protect himself and the ship's owners - for if sick slaves died a natural death, the owners of the ship received no compensation. If, however, to safeguard the safety of the ship, those deemed chattels were thrown overboard while still alive, the insurers would pay out.

The Boy in Brazil

Jamacian born John Barnes, played mainly for Watford & Liverpool and he won 79 caps for England.His wonder goal against Brazil in the Maracana Stadium in June 1984 is still remembered as one of the best solo goals ever scored by an Englishman.

Cugoano The Slave Who Spoke Out

Now known as Ghana, Ottabah Cugoano. publicly demanded the abolition of the slave trade, as well as the emancipation of slaves. He was kidnapped and enslaved. Cugoano came to England from Grenada around 1752 and was set free. In Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, published in 1787, he declared that enslaved people had both the moral right and the moral duty to resist their masters.

Shapurji the Hounded MP for Battersea

In 1922, Shapurji Saklatvala was elected MP for Battersea, with a majority of 2,000. Popular among his voters, he was re-elected on a Communist Party ticket in 1924, the only Communist to succeed.A powerful speaker,he was hounded and imprisioned because of his communist sympathies.

Ashwood - First Among Unequals?

Amy Ashwood Garvey  was a playwright, lecturer and Pan-Africanist who founded the Nigerian Progress Union in London in 1924. She became an important figure in the anti-racist movement in England. In 1959, she chaired an enquiry into race relations following the racially motivated murder of Kelso Cochrane in London. In the wake of the Notting Hill riots in 1958, she co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Coloured People

The Birth of Curries in Britain

The earliest records of arrivals from the region that is now known as Bangladesh (was British India) are of Sylheti cooks in London during 1873, in the employment of the East India Company, who travelled to the UK as lascars on ships to work in restaurants

Lascars Die on Streets of London

In 1842, the Church Missionary Society reported on the dire ″state of the Lascars in London″ it was reported in the winter of 1850, 40 Asian men, also known as 'sons of India', were found dead of cold and hunger on the streets of London

The Black Musicians Who Served

There are many examples of Black men who served in the British army and the Royal Navy as musicians, drummers and trumpeters. Less well known are those who were professional or amateur musicians. Black artists from a variety of social backgrounds were performing in Britain from the 16th century. One such was Julius Soubise, the son of a Jamaican slave and protégé of the Duchess of Queensberry, who was a keen violinist.

Black Power in the UK

In 1967 British Black Panther party was established.British Black Panthers engaged in a struggle with the Metropolitan Police over issues of immigration, blackness, violence, anti-imperialism, and social space.

The Ivory Bangle Lady

One of the richest inhabitants of fourth century Roman York, buried in a stone sarcophagus with luxury imports including jewellery made of elephant ivory, a mirror and a blue glass perfume jar, was a woman of black African ancestry, a re-examination of her skeleton has shown.

50 Years of Hope

The 1968 Race Relations Act (under which it was illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to someone because of their race or ethnic background) celebrated its 50th Anniversary in October 2018.

To Be Or Not To Be ?

The legendary William Shakespeare is well known for his fantastic Poems, Play’s and Odes but not for his alleged friendship with an African woman.

In for a Penny In For A Guinea

Not for nothing did a coin - the guinea - derive its etymology from the West African region of that name, the area from which hundreds of thousands of indigenous people were seized against their will. For traders of 17th- and 18th-century Britain, the African was literally a unit of currency.

Ranjitsnhji The First

In 1896, K S Ranjitsinhji made his test match debut at Old Trafford stadium against Australia. Thus becomng the first Indian to play for England

Gold Singer

Dame Shirley Bassey, the Black Legendary Singer from Wales is still the only Artist to Record Three James Bond Theme Tune Singles: "Goldfinger" from the film Goldfinger (1964) "Diamonds Are Forever" from the film Diamonds Are Forever (1971) "Moonraker" from the film Moonraker (1979)

Stormzy's Grime First

Stormzy"Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr" . debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer, was released on 24 February 2017 and was the first grime album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart.

Still Not Turning Around

Aswad are a long-lasting British reggae group, noted for adding strong R&B and soul influences to the reggae sound. They have been performing since the mid-1970s, having released a total of 21 albums. "Aswad" means "black" in Arabic.Among Aswad's catalogue of hits include "Don't Turn Around", a UK No. 1 hit in 1988, originally recorded by Tina Turner as a B-side to her "Typical Male" single

The Polish African In England

George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (11 October 1778 – 29 February 1860)] was an Afro-European musician, born in Poland. He grew to be a virtuoso violinist, living in England for much of his life. He was born in Biała in Galicia, where his father worked for Hieronim Wincenty Radziwiłł, in 1778. He was baptised Hieronimo Hyppolito de Augusto on 11 October 1778

Garrison - The Black Cultural Archives Founder

Len Garrison founded the Black Cultural Archives in 1981. Now permanently located at Windrush Square, Brixton, it is committed to documenting, teaching and the development of educational resources about the history of the Black Britain

Oliver - A Twist In The Tale ?

Historian Jeffrey Green in his studying of back copies of The Times revealed that in 1834, when Charles Dickens was a journalist in London, aged 22, an interesting item was noticed. Henry Murphy, ‘a black man’ aged about 60 had appeared at Bow Street court on 13 January 1834 charged with keeping a place for runaway children where they were compelled to ‘rob and beg for their suppers’. His ‘copper-coloured’ son John was also charged. Henry Murphy was surely an inspiration for Fagin in Dickens’s Oliver Twist of 1838: and his son was the Artful Dodger?

West Indian Regiment War Graves In Sussex

There are 19 graves of soldiers of the British West Indies Regiment in the military section of Seaford cemetery near the coast of Sussex where the regiment was stationed in the winter of 1915-1916.

The Prince, The Actor & The Racing Tips

From 1920 horse race fans in Britain became used to the black tipster Ras Prince Monolulu. Claiming to be a Jewish Ethiopian prince, but actually born in the Danish West Indies (St Croix) in 1881, he had travelled widely as an actor and entertainer. Now known to be Peter Carl MacKay, he died in England in 1965.

Black Britain In 1859

Jeffrey Green , the Historian reports that: "The Morning Post (London) 10 Feb 1859 reported a coloured man named John Pieza withdrew his police court claim that his girlfriend’s brother had stolen his watch. They lived with the defendant’s mother in Walworth, south London. Three men accused of trying to strangle John Davids a coloured man from Ceylon [Sri Lanka] in a Liverpool pub said they put a rope round his neck “for a lark” but were found guilty and fined with costs (alternative: 2 months in prison) according to the Birmingham Daily Post 24 Feb 1859."

Colour Bar For Black Artists In London In 1903

The American In Dahomey show opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in May 1903 and had considerable fame – the 100 plus mainly Black members performed for King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace in June. Still did not there cast members from being barred from drinking in many West End Pubs according to Newsaper reports at the time.

Into The Lions Den.....If You Are Black

An advetisement in the Era Magazine on 27 May 1898 advertised for a Lion Tamer for a vacancy at Chipperfield’s Menagerie at Chorley, Lancashire: ‘Coloured Man preferred’ was actually stated.

William Davidson - The Black Tailor Executed For Treason

In 1820 there was an attempt to assassinate Lord Liverpool and his entire cabinet and replace it with a people’s parliament. Known as "The Cato St conspiracy". What is not widely known is the fact that one of the plotters who was executed for high treason was black – William Davidson, born in Jamaica but lived in Glasgow and London and a tailor by trade.

The African Sacrifice in World War 2

The total number of East and West Africans who saw military service in the war was 374,000; 3,387 were killed and 5,549 were wounded.)

Alridge Remembered At The Old Vic

On Friday 24 September 2004, The Ira Alridge Memorial is unveiled at the Old Vic Theatre. Alridge, an Afro-American made his first known acting debut on the London stage in 1825 in the melodrama The Revolt of Surinam at the Royal Coburg Theatre (now the Old Vic). A framed 19th Century print portrait of Ira Aldridge was erected.

Black Pilots In The Battle Of Britain

One of the first West Indians to join the RAF, Vincent Bunting of Jamaica, participated in the Battle of Britain. By 1944, there were over 4,000 West Indians in the RAF, of whom some four hundred were air crew.

The Black & Asian Studies Association Make History

The Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA; till October 1997 ASCACHIB) was formed in 1991. The aim of the Association is to foster research and to disseminate information on the history of Black peoples in Britain. A Newsletter was published three times a year until 2013.

The Birth Of The Golliwog

A black-faced, shock-haired, fat red lipped and goggled-eyed character in brightly coloured clothes introduced to Britain in 1895 with the publication of Bertha and Florence Kate Upton’s The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls. Such was the popularity of the central Golliwog’s character that the Uptons produced twelve sequels until 1909, which were reprinted many times until the late 1970s -‘ The Oxford Companion to Black British History, eds. D. Dabydeen, J. Gilmore and C. Jones (2007). Golliwog’, pp.191-2.

No Black Slaves Made In England

No statutes codifying modern slavery were ever passed in England. The only forced labor recognized in English law was feudal villeinage, which had died out by the seventeenth century. Confusion arose when Englishmen began to bring blacks they had legally bought as slaves in the colonies back to England. The colonial legislatures had laws to define slave status, but English law did not. -'English Common Law, Slavery and' (Vol. I, pp. 200-203)

Moors Nicked In 17th Century England

In September 1615, a Ratcliffe mariner named Thomas Jeronimo, his wife Helen and a musician named John Anthony all appeared at the Middlesex Quarter Sessions. Helen was suspected of stealing ‘14 bookes of callikoe, 26 pieces of pachers and 108 lb. of suger’ from a merchant named Francis Pinto. Both men were described as ‘Maurus’ - meaning ‘moor’. (LMA MJ/SR/S53, nos. 112, 113; British History Online.)

Shakespeare, Othello & Mixed Relationships in England

Abstract: Shakespeare's tragedy of Othello and Desdemona has long attracted critics to consider the issues of interracial relationships and miscegenation in early modern England. More recently, other black characters have been found in Renaissance literature and an African presence in 16th and 17th century England has been demonstrated from archival sources.

The Non Slave Blacks in Britain

The legacy of villeinage coupled with the strong rhetoric of freedom in legal and popular discourse ensured that Africans in Britain were not viewed as slaves in the eyes of the law. Neither were they treated as such. They were paid wages, married, and allowed to testify in court. Those scholars who have sought to place the origins of racial slavery in Elizabethan and early Stuart England must now look elsewhere. "Africans in Britain, 1500-1640'- Oxford D.Phil. thesis (2011)."

African in 13th Century England Discovered ?

An African presence in Britain dating around the 13th Century was discovered when a skeleton was examined by the BBC History Cold Case team. The skeleton was found to have come from a medieval Christian cemetery in the grounds of a monastery in Ipswich. Carbon dating, bone analysis and DNA tests revealed the man was born sometime between 1190 and 1300 in North Africa and that he had lived in Britain or an equally cold, damp climate for at least the last ten years of his life. Nine other African skeletons have been found in the Ipswich cemetery and these people seem to have come from sub-Saharan Africa.

Baptisms & Burials -18th Century Blacks In Exeter

Exeter (Holy Trinity), burial of Robert Hill, a black servant from the Devon & Exeter Hospital, 8 May 1791 Exeter (St David's), baptism of Anne Hobbs, a black woman, 7 August 1772 Exeter (St David's), baptism of Thomas Walker, a black boy, 4 December 1778

African Times Makes History In London in 1912

The ‘Africa Times and Orient Review’ is the first political journal produced by and for Black people ever published in Britain. Duse Mohamed Ali, an Egyptian Nationalist and Pan Africanist Journalist founded The African Times and Orient Review in London in July 1912. It was printed in Fleet Street in London. Marcus Garvey was a staff writer at the newspaper.

Post War Black Talent Leads In London

7 October 1947 - Evelyn Dove Edric Connor, Mable Lee, Cyril Blake and his Calypso Band, Buddy Bradley, Winifred Atwell, and Adelaide Hall plus others performed in Variety in Sepia, an early example of a UK television special dedicated to Black talent, filmed live at the RadiOlympia Theatre, Alexandra Palace, London, and aired on BBC TV.

The Leadership of Amy Garvey

Amy Ashwood Garvey (1897- 1969) was a playwright, lecturer and Pan-Africanist who founded the Nigerian Progress Union in London in 1924. She became an important figure in the anti-racist movement in England. In 1959, she chaired an enquiry into race relations following the racially motivated murder of Kelso Cochrane in London. In the wake of the Notting Hill riots in 1958, she co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.

Henry The First

Henry Sylvester Williams (1869-1911) helped to found the African-Association, which lobbied for human rights in the colonies and was instrumental in holding the first Pan-African Conference in London (1900).

Too Many Blacks In 18th Century London

In 1788, Philip Thicknesse bemoaned the fact that: '... London abounds with an incredible number of these black men [...] in almost every village are to be seen a little race of mulattoes, mischievous as monkeys and infinitely more dangerous'.

Racist Murders Strike Britain

Between 1976 and 1981, 31 Black and Asian people were murdered in racist attacks in Britain including Teenager Gurdip Singh Chaggar,Malcom Chambers,Akhtar Ali Baig and Michael Ferreria

STILL Bending Like Beckham

The 2002 Film "Bend it Like Beckham" is still the most successful British Asian themed film ever. To date it has grossed over £58m ($75m) in worldwide sales.

Sade Leaves Others in The Shade.

Helen Folasade Adu known as "Sade" is the most successful solo British female artist in history.Sade's US certified sales stand at over 23.5 million units and the band has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.

Souza The Art Giant

From 1956 to 1966, Indian born Francis Newton Souza was arguably the most dominant Artist in Britain , exhibiting and outselling all other Artists in Britain during this period.

England and the Rise of African Leadership

London and Manchester were key locations for the development of Pan-Africanism -a rejection of colonial rule in favour of nationakl independence. From holding major Conferences in 1921 and 1945 to educating future African Leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta.

Race, Riots & Lynchings in England

The end of World War I saw a marked increase in Black Brtish Seaman being refused work on British ships in favour of white nationals and other foreigners. Tensions began to rise in areas such as Cardiff, Liverpool and Newport and local and national newspapers coverng the Race Riots that broke out in the summer of 1919 mentioned murders by lynch mobs of Black citizens.

East Points To BAFTA

The 1999 British Asian Themed Film "East is East" won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards, and was declared Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards.

Indian Troops To The Rescue

28,500 Indidan Troops helped shore up the depleted British Troops in Egypt in World War 1 on 26th September 1914. 16,000 British reinforcements arrived at the same time.

Michael X The UK Based Revolutionary

Michael X (1933-1975) was a Triandian born but London based black civil rights and revolutionary. He was the first man to be convicted under the 1967 Race Relations Act and led a Black Panther commune in North London. In 1975 he ws hung in Triandad for murdering a fellow activist who had refused to attack a local police station.

The Great Indian War Effort

India lost 65,000 Soliders fighting alongside Britain in World Was II. Overall India had 180,000 casualties. Their bravery is reflected in the more than 1,400 military awards Indian Soliders received including 31 Victoria Crosses - the highest Military Award.

Sancho the ex Slave Author and Shop Owner

Ignatius Sancho(1729-1780) was an an 18th Century ex Slave who became a Shop Owner in London , Music Composer and accomplished Author. Indeed after his death, over 1,000 people subscribed to see his letters including the Prime Minister, Lord North

A True Wynters Tale

In 1596 at the request of his Master, Sir Edward Wynter, a Black Servant called Edward Swarthye gave an authorised public beating to a well educated white servant of his Master

The Indian Shipping Force

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, 38% of theworkforce on British Ships were Indian. With the outbreak of the War, the recruitment of Indian workers increased significantly.

Sade - Diamond For Ever ?

The 1984 Debut Album of of Sade Adu (known as Sade ) called Diamond Life STILL remains the most successful debut Album by any Black Female Artist to this day.

Poetry Publication Takes Off in London

Poetry London was a Bi-Monthly publication started by a Tamil from Ceylon called JM Tabinmuttu in1939. It continued until 1951 before being revived in its current format in 1988.

First Black Bishop

Samuel Crowther(1806-1892) was the first Black man on record to be ordained as a Bishop. This was for the United Church of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Samuel Ajayi Crowther was born in Nigeria.

Early Indians in Britain

The formation of the East India Company in the 17th Century indicates by Company records that there were many applications for the return of Indian servants to their Ships that travelled between England and India between 1690 and 1702. The first indications of "working visas" perhaps.

Meghan The Second

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is NOT the first mixed race Member of the Royal Family. This was in fact, Charlotte Sophia(1744-1818) who was the Queen Consort to George III the Third. they produced 15 children . Sophia is the Great Grandmother of the current Queen's late Father - George VI.

The Powerful Indian Pound

Indians in 18th Century Georgian England were responsible for the purchase of many of the magnifiicent Estates in England and indeed the Indian pound in England extended to purchasing some seats to sit in the House of Commons as unlected Members of Parliament.

Words Speak Louder Than Action

The Slave Trade Act of Great Britain was passed in 1807. However, no Slaves were set free because of the the Act 

Equiano's Mighty Pen

Olaudah Equiano, ex -slave and now active abolitionist ,published his autobiography in 1789 The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African' . This insight into the horrific slavery helped influence British lawmakers to abolish transatlantic enslavement through the Slave Trade Act of 1807

Serious Immigration Curbs

The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 and Immigration Act 1971 largely restricted any further "No ties to Britain" primary immigration, although family members of already-settled migrants were still allowed.

The Black Mayor of Battersea

John Richard Archer  became London's first Black Mayor on 10th November 1913 aged fifty years old when he was elected mayor of Battersea

The Black Emperor who Lived In York

Septimus Severus, the Black Emperor and the World's richest man ever, was born in Libya but spent his last three years in Britain before he died in York in 211AD.

Indian Workers Unite

The Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) was founded in 1958 from a number of existing organisations. It campaigned on social and welfare issues including discrimination. It had good links with the British trade union movement. Key figures were Avtar Jouhl and Jagmohan Joshi.

The Black Champion without Titles

Len Johnson (1902-1974) - was from Manchester and was a successful boxer in the 1920s, but was denied titles because he was black. Len later became an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain

A Sign of the Times

“No blacks, no Irish, no dogs” signs were common place in the 60's but helped to highlight the treatment of blacks and Asians in Britain. During Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s term (1964-1970 & 1974-1976) he introduced tighter controls on immigration but also introduced legislation that made racial discrimination a legal offence

Really Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate - The band became the only group, and one of just three acts, that had a hit in every year of the 1970s in the UK Pop Charts (the other two being Elvis Presley and Diana Ross)

The Migrant Boom

By 1970 the amount of non-white residents in the UK numbered 1.4 million, although a third of this number were born in Britain.

The Mordern Magnificent Mosque

The Baitul Futuh Mosque, also known as the Morden Mosque, is Britain’s largest mosque, and one of the largest in western Europe. Located in Morden, south west London, about 10,000 Muslims flock to this beautiful place of worship every week for Friday prayers

Una The Uno At The BBC

Una Marson was the first Black female broadcaster at the BBC from 1939 to 1946. She was a poet, publisher and activist for racial and sexual equality. She was a secretary to the League of Colored Peoples as well as many other organisations including the Women's International League for Peace.

The Princess Suffragette

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, was a prominent suffragette and member of the Women’s Social and Political Union. On 18 November 1910, known as ‘Black Friday’, Sophia led a 400-strong demonstration to parliament together with Emmeline Pankhurst

Naoroji The First

Elected Liberal MP for Finsbury in 1892, Dadabhai Naoroji was the first Indian nationalist politician to win a seat in parliament, despite Lord Salisbury’s jibe that the British people would not accept a ‘black man’ as an MP

Where Are The Black Professors ?

In January 2017, the Higher Education Statistics Authority revealed there are 50 Black Caribbean or Black African professors out of a total 14,000 in Britain. Did that surprise you?

Black Talent TV Special 1947

Evelyn Dove , Edric Connor, Mable Lee, Cyril Blake and his Calypso Band, Buddy Bradley, Winifred Atwell, and Adelaide Hall plus others performed in Variety in Sepia, an early example of a UK television special dedicated to Black talent, filmed live at the RadiOlympia Theatre, Alexandra Palace, London, and aired on BBC TV on 7th October 1947.

4th Century African Briton

Hi Tech archaeology and historical research show that in Roman Britain there were many individuals of African heritage of all classes. The 4th century ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ of York and ‘The Beachy Head Lady’ from sub-Saharay n Africa, is thought to have lived in East Sussex c. 200 AD.

Legal Slaves in Britain

Christopher Wren(1632-1723), the architect behind St. Paul’s Cathedral was so impressed with Islamic architecture and the beauty of architecture in Ottoman and Moorish mosques that he wanted to re create it in his work. You can easily see the influence of the Islamic style on St. Paul’s cathedral. A man with good taste!

By Royal Appointment

In the Tudor Times(1485-1603)Henry VII and Henry VIII employed black musicians and servants in their courts.

Picton's Land Legacy

Cesar Picton was a former servant, who became a coal merchant in Kingston-upon-Thames, and was wealthy enough by the time he died to be able to bequeath two acres of land, and a house with wharf and shops attached.

Rushanara The First

At the 2010 General Election, Rushanara Ali became the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected to the House of Commons.

British Bangladeshi's Lowest Income Group

British Bangladeshis have the highest overall relative poverty rate of any ethnic group in the UK with 65% of Bangladeshis living in low income households.

Stewart Courtiers

Henry VII and Henry VIII employed black musicians and servants in their courts.

Basu Brings Terror To His Role

In March 2018, Neil Basu becames first Asian officer to the take top counterterror role with his appointment as head of counterterrorism at the Metropolitan Police

No Boots For Salim is No problem

Mohammed Salim, an Indian from Calcutta, came to play for Celtic in the 1936-37 season…in bare feet and impressed all who watched but then dissappeared back to India 

Tamils Flee Civil War

A phase of Sri Lankan migration to the UK occurred from the 1980s onwards, during the civil war in Sri Lanka. A large number of Tamil Sri Lankans sought asylum in the UK

Punjabi Soliders In British Army

The ties between the British and the Punjab region of India go back a long way. From 1857 onwards many Punjabis served in the British army

No Apprenticeships Says London's Mayor

Most black people, if they escaped their masters, were doomed to live in poverty. In 1731, the Lord Mayor of London, responding to moral panic about the size of the non-white population in the city, banned them from holding company apprenticeships.

Prince and A West Indian Slave

Mary Prince  was the first Black woman to write and publish an autobiography ‘The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave,' an account of the horrors of life on the plantations enslavement, published in Britain c.1831. Mary Prince was also the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament.

No White Peope Please

A newspaper report from 1764 also describes how 57 black men and women ate, drank and entertained themselves with dancing and music - from violins, French horns and other instruments - until four in the morning, at a public-house in Fleet Street. No white people were allowed to be present, and all the performers were black.

Refugees Take Flight

Most Bangladeshi families in the UK in the present time are the result of large scale migration in the early 1970s from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, as people fled from the civil unrest in their homeland

Seacole Refused Request To Assist

Mary Seacole's historic role in the Crimean War is now recognised. However when Seacole applied to the British War Office to assist but she was actually refused.

The First Black Newspaper

Founded in July 1912 by Duse Mohamed Ali, The ‘Africa Times and Orient Review'was the first political journal produced by and for Black people ever published in Britain. It was printed in Fleet Street in London. Marcus Garvey was a staff writer at the newspaper. 

The Queen & The Black Migrants

In 1596, Queen Elizabeth I issued letters to the lord mayors of major cities asserting that "of late divers blackmoores brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already here to manie..

Kapoor Wins Turner Award

Anish Kapoor, a British-Indian Sculptor received the highly acclaimed Turner Prize for Art in 1991

Britains Muslim Spy

 Nora Inayat-Khan, was Britain's first Muslim war heroine  renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive(SOE) in World War Two. She was also a published author who was posthumously awarded the George Cross , the highest civilian decoration in the UK. As an SOE agent she became the first female wireless operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance during World War II, and was Britain's first Muslim war heroine.

The Royal Black Trumpeteer

A black musician is among the six trumpeters depicted in the royal retinue of Henry VIII in the Westminster Tournament Roll, an illuminated manuscript dating from 1511

Change of Guard in British Tradition

In December 2012, Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh soldier, became the first to guard Buckingham Palace without a bearskin and is allowed to wear his turban instead. It broke over 180 years of tradition.

The First Black Londoner?

The earliest known record of a Black person living in London is of "Cornelius a Blackamoor" whose burial on 2nd March 1593 was recorded in the parish register at St Margaret's Church in Lee. 

The Black Roman Soliders

African soldiers who served as part of the Roman army were stationed at Hadrian's Wall during the 2nd century AD

Jay Sean's not Down

In 2009, Jay Sean's American debut single "Down" topped the Billboard Hot 100, making him the first solo artist of South Asian origin and first UK urban act to top the Hot 100. It sold more than three million copies in the United States that year eventually reaching six million sales in the United States,This made him the most successful British/European male urban artist in US chart history at that point.

Not A Patch on Apache Indian

Apache Indian was a 90's Hip Hop Star who infused reggae and hip hop with Indian popular music to create a sound that transcended genre and found a multicultural audience. He is the only Indian artist to have achieved 6 top forty hits in the National UK charts

Most Indian Resturants Are Not Actually

South Asians have had lasting impact on popular British culture with the spread of Indian cuisine. However, most of the 9,000 Indian restaurants in the UK, are run by Bangladeshi's.

MOBOS Keep Their Mojo

The MOBO Awards  "Music of Black Origin", established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell, has become one of Europe’s biggest and most influential music award ceremonies, celebrating excellence in black music in the UK and internationally in the musical fields of hip-hop, grime, RnB, soul, reggae, jazz, gospel, and African music.

Britain's Richest Man is Asian

Britain based Indian Lakshmi Mittal is currently Britain's richest man and the fifth richest man in the world. He has an estimated wealth of around $55 Billion.

Bus Company's Dream Move

On the 28 August 1963 the Bristol Bus Company lifted the employment colour ban. This was the same day that Martin Luther King Jr made his “I have a dream speech” in the United States.

Hamed Is No.1

Boxer Naseem Hamed who held multiple world championships at featherweight, including the WBO title from 1995 to 2000; the IBF title in 1997; and the WBC title from 1999 to 2000;reigned as lineal champion from 1998 to 2001; IBO champion from 2002 to 2003; is ranked as the best British featherweight boxer of all time by BoxRec. In 2015 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Israelites Are No.1

The first Jamaican performers to reach number one in Britain were Desmond Dekker and the Aces with "Israelites" in 1969

Kicked Out To Make History

Claudia Jones recognised for her founding role of the Notting Hill Carnival and the West Indian Gazette Newspaper was an active black nationalist and Communist Jones was deported from the United States for her political activities and campaigns to the United Kingdom in 1955

The Mangrove Trial

After marching on a police station in 1970 to protest unfair police treatment and discrimination Crichlow and eight others including Darcus Howe were charged with incitement to riot in 1971. Their trial lasted 55 days and eventually the Mangrove Nine were acquitted. The case is still seen as the most significant ever for UK Black Civil Rights due to highlighting the racism that was  rife in the London Metropolitan police.

Academic Poor Standards

In 2017, The Higher Education Statistics Authority revealed that universities are employing more black staff as cleaners, receptionists or porters than as lecturers or professors.

The Real First Asian MP ?

David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre, was an Anglo-Indian held to be the first person of Asian descent to be elected to the British Parliament to represent the Sudbury constituency in July 1841, but was removed in April 1842 due to bribery in the election process. Hence why Dadabhai Naoroji is credited as the first Asian to be a Brtish MP, more than 50 years after the actual first Asian MP was elected

Naoroji The First

Dadabhai Naoroji , known as the Grand Old Man of India, was a  Liberal Party member of Parliament (MP) between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP.

Britains First Mosque

Abdullah Quilliam was a 19th-century convert from Christianity to Islam is noted for founding England's first mosque and Islamic centre in 1889.

Hidden Heritage

Paul Reaney of Leeds United was not open about his Black Heritage that history has not recognised that he and NOT Viv Anderson in 1978was the first Black Player to play Senior Football for England. Reaney won the first of his two caps in 1968 ,some 10 years before Anderson.

The Lascars - The first UK South Asian Migrants

38 South Asians Sailors ( Lascars) were reported coming to work in England in 1760 to work for the British East India Company.Between 1803 and 1813, there were more than 10,000 lascars from the Indian subcontinent visiting British port cities and towns

The Blacked Beggars

The likes of Billy Waters and Joseph Johnson made an artistic spectacle out of their poverty - they became underworld celebrities, and were so well rewarded that by the 1850s many white beggars had begun to black up.

Khan 's Historic Military Honour

(Jemadar) Abdul Hafiz Khan was 18 years old and served with the 9th. Jat. Regiment, Indian Army. He died bravely in 1944 and became the youngest recipient of the Victoria Cross - Britain's highest Military Honour

Rag To Riches

A parliamentary report in 1815 claimed that one enslaved person had been able to return to the West Indies with a fortune of £1,500

More than 8 out of 10 Sikhs own their own home

In 2004 it was reported that UK Sikhs had the highest percentage of home ownership, at 82%, out of all UK religious communities

Biggest Black Protest In Britain

In the wake of the deaths of 13 young people in an arson attack in 1981 the New Cross Massacre Action Committee mobilised 20,000 people in protest.

The Race Riots 1919

White and Black community clashed in 1919. Following WW1, men who were demobilised in Cardiff found there was a shortage of work and resented competing for jobs with black workers. Riots in Liverpool, Newcastle, Newport and Cardiff saw black people driven from their homes and violently attacked, and several people killed in the midst of the chaos.

Right Up Your Street ?

South Asians have also played a pivotal role in rejuvenating a number of UK street markets. According to the New Economics Foundation, Queen's Market in Upton Park, East London is officially the most ethnically diverse.

First Among Equals

When Baron Singh of Wimbledon was introduced in the House of Lords on 24 October 2011, he became the first member of the House of Lords to wear a turban

Welch Sweet Music

Elisabeth Welch  was one of the first Black people to have her own BBC radio series in 1935, Soft Lights and Sweet Music, which made her a household name in Britain.

Sancho The Pioneer

Ignatius Sancho was a composer, actor, writer and businessman. He was believed to be the first Black person ever to have voted in Britain in 1774 and 1780. Sancho was also the first African writer whose work was published in England

The 1958 Anti Black Riots

The Notting Hill area of London and in Nottingham saw a short but vicious outbreak of anti-black rioting in the summer of 1958. The following year a young black man named Kelso Cochrane was murdered in North Kensington. His killer was never found.

Paul The Firsts

Paul Ince was the first black player to captain England, when he took the armband in a tour match against the USA in 1993 and was also the first black Briton to manage a top flight team in England (Blackburn Rovers) in 2008

Indians Dock in England

Immigration of small numbers of South Asians to England began with the arrival of the East India Company to the Indian subcontinent in the 17th century. Indians came to Britain, for educational or economic reasons, during the British Raj, with most returning to India after a few months or years

13th Century Skilled Craftsmen

In Northamptonshire, financial records from 1205 show King John employed a man called 'Peter the Saracen' as a 'maker of crossbows'. The term 'saracen' was used to describe someone of North African or Middle Eastern origin. It suggests there may have been a presence of skilled African craftspeople in England dating back to the middle ages

The Real Thing

The Real Thing , based on number of sales, were the most successful black rock/soul act in England during the 1970s

Sikhs Bloody Sacrifice

In WW1 and WW2 , over 82,000 Sikhs died in both World Wars fighting for Britain and the Empire.

Arjun's Time in New York

Arjun, the British Asian singer-songwriter, performed at Times Square in New York, USA, in September 2014, before a small gathering of 200,000 people

The First Black Pro Footballer

Britain's first professional black footballer emerged from the North East. Arthur Wharton was born in Ghana but moved to Darlington to train as a Methodist preacher. He became the Amateur Athletic Association's 100 yards champion in 1886, bringing him to the attention of Darlington Football Club. He played as goalkeeper, before turning professional at Rotherham Town and later playing for Sheffield United. He was inducted into the Footballer's Hall of Fame in 2003.

Alridge The Actress Who Broke The Mould

In the 1890's, Ira Aldridge was one of the highest paid actors in the world at a time when black roles - such as Othello - were played by white men with blackened skin.

Khaliq Wins Historic Title

Jawaid Khaliq  became the first British Asian boxing world champion winning the International Boxing Organization(IBO) welterweight title in June 2001