Today’s Fact & Surprise

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

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


More Facts & Surprises

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.


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.


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.


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


Asians Are The One in Ten

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


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. 


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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