On This Day

In this section, we remember significant achievements and moments from Black and Asian history

August 1976

20 August 1976-  On Friday 20 August 1976 , a group of workers led by the now famous Jayaben Desai, walked out in protest against their treatment by the managers. They decided that they had enough, and wanted to defend their dignity and their rights. They soon realised that having a trade union at their workplace would help them to fight for better rights. They joined a trade union, APEX (Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff). They began to demand that Grunwick should recognise workers’ right to join trade unions in order to take up any issues the workers may have with the factory owners.

In those days, trade unions were all led by white men, and women workers as well as non-white workers often found it very hard to win support from their unions. Many migrant workers felt that the unions were racist and supported the management in keeping the wages of women and non-white workers down. But something special happened at Grunwick.

After Jayaben and her co-workers spent a few months picketing outside the Grunwick factory, the cause of the Grunwick strikers was taken up by the wider trade union movement of the day. By June 1977 there were marches in support of the Grunwick strikers, and on some days more than 20,000 people packed themselves into the narrow lanes near Dollis Hill tube station. 

Grunwick operated a mail order service to develop photographs – there were no digital cameras in those days. People sent their film rolls by post and the workers at the Grunwick developed and printed them, then sent the photographs back by post. Because of this working relationship between the postal workers and the workers at Grunwick, the Union of Postal Workers supported the Grunwick strikers' cause and on 1st November 1977 the union voted to boycott postal services to and from Grunwick. With this support victory seemed to be within the grasp of the striking women.

Meanwhile, as this dispute had been going on for some time, the government appointed a committee of enquiry headed by Lord Scarman to hear evidence from the workers and the factory owners at Grunwick. The government thought that, based on the evidence, they would be able to make some recommendations which would help to find a solution to the strikes. The Scarman Inquiry recommended that the owners of Grunwick should recognise the trade union and give the sacked workers their jobs back. Grunwick rejected these government recommendations.

By now the government and the union were getting nervous about the number of people who were coming out to support the strikers. The police began to come to the demonstrations in large numbers and there were reports that the police were violent towards people who were protesting. 


More On This Day Entries

August 1920

19 August 1920 - Guayanese born Sprinter Harry Edwards wins a Bronze in the 200 yards dash at the Olympics Games in Antwerp, Belguim.He thus one again became Britain's first non white ever Track Medalist. See Hall of Fame for biography.  

August 1981

18 August 1981 - Justin Fashanu becomes Britains first £1m player when he transfers from Norwich to Nottingham Forest. It was widely believed that this was Trevor Francis who transferred to the same club from Birmingham in 1980. However, Brian Clough refused to "burden" him with that tag and paid Birmingham £1 short of £1m.  

August 1964

17 August 1964 -The Afro-West Indian Study Cycle.opens later to become the  African Caribbean Self Help Organisation (ACSHO), in the district of Handsworth in Birmingham. Its aim was to address issues that rise within the community, including perceived problems of police harassment and concerns about the housing of Black people, which was viewed as discriminatory during the early decades of mass immigration.Key figure remains Bini Brown who first got involved in the organisaiton as a 14 year old is still involved some 50 years later. In August 2014 it celeberated its 50th Anniversary and is the UK’s longest running independent black organisation. Its 104 Heathfield Road address in Handsworth is aka as simply 104 

August 1920

16 August 1920 - Guayanese born Sprinter Harry Edwards wins a Bronze Medal  in the 200 yards dash at the Olympics Games in Antwerp, Belguim.He becomes Britain's first non white ever Track Medalist. See Hall of Fame for biography.  

August 1947

15 August 1947  - Offical ceremonies take place in London, England to mark the official partition of India and the creation of the new state of Pakistan.   

August 1987

14 August 1987 - Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame, the brainchild of Flip Fraser and JD Douglas a stage musical is launched at the Shaw Theatre in London. The production which started from humble beginning as a community theatre project, has gone on to become the most successful All-Black show in British Theatre history creating new audience for major theatres all over the U.K., the Caribbean and the U.S.A. The show divided into seven Tableaux covering two and a half hours of pulsating song, dance, and drama paying homage to the great Black Kings and queens of Africa, Leaders, Scientist, and Statement, world-renowned sports starts and the great entertainers.

August 1938

13 August 1938 - British Muslims protest against their depiction in a novel by H.G Wells. According to a report in " The Guardian"  , they 'ceremoniously committed to the flames' a copy of H. G. Wells's A Short History of the World because of references to the Prophet Muhammad which they considered offensive. This was followed by a protest march by members of the organisation to India House, Aldwych, which accommodated the Indian High Commission in London's West End.

With thanks to the Huffington Post for the above information.

August 2017

12 August 2017 - Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili,Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell Blake pull off a surprise 4 x 100m Final win to grab the Gold in the World Championships  in a time of 37.47 for Great Britain(GB) .  The much anticpated final ever appearane of the legend Ushan Bolt was ended with a  pulled hamstring and non finish as he came into the final stretch. However it was a great way for the Hosts Nation GB to win at its now iconic London Stadium.


August 2011

11 August 2011 - The 2011 England riots end. They occurred between 6 and 11 August 2011, when thousands of people rioted in several London boroughs and in cities and towns across England. The resulting chaos generated looting, arson, and mass deployment of police and resulted in the deaths of five people.

Protests started in Tottenham, London, following the death of Mark Duggan, a local man who was shot dead by police on 4 August. Several violent clashes with police ensued, along with the destruction of police vehicles, a double-decker bus and many homes and businesses, thus rapidly gaining attention from the media. Overnight, looting took place in Tottenham Hale retail park and nearby Wood Green. The following days saw similar scenes in other parts of London, with the most rioting taking place in Hackney, Brixton, Walthamstow, Peckham, Enfield, Battersea, Croydon, Ealing and East Ham

From 8 to 10 August, other towns and cities in England (including Birmingham and Coventry as well as Leicester and Derby and Wolverhampton and Northampton and Salford) saw what was described by the media as "copycat violence". Social media sites including Facebook also featured rumours of further disturbances or details surrounding known disturbances which were later proven to be inaccurate; for instance there were rumours of disturbances in the town of Dudley and at the nearby Merry Hill Shopping Centre, but no incidents in these areas were detected by police. Rumours of a hospital being targeted by rioters in Birmingham were also proven to be wrong, as were rumours of disturbances in the Heath Town district of Wolverhampton, which had witnessed a serious riot in May 1989.

By 15 August, more than 3,000 arrests had been made across England, with more than 1,000 people issued with criminal charges for various offences related to the riots. Initially, courts sat for extended hours. There were a total of 3,443 crimes across London that were linked to the disorder. Along with the five deaths, at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violent acts. An estimated £200 million worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity - which in many cases was already struggling due to the recession - was significantly compromised.

The riots have generated significant ongoing debate among political, social and academic figures about the causes and context in which they happened. Attributions for the rioters' behaviour include such social factors such as racial tension, class tension, economic decline and the unemployment that it had brought, as well as individual factors like criminality, hooliganism, the breakdown of social morality and the development of gang culture.

August 2005

10 August 2005 -A bitter industrial dispute at British Airways’ catering supplier affected the airline itself  as ground staff at Heathrow airport took unofficial strike action in support of dismissed catering workers.

A dispute over restructuring plans at Gate Gourmet, the catering supplier to British Airways (BA) at Heathrow airport, resulted in unofficial strike action in August 2005 and the dismissal of hundreds of workers involved. BA ground staff at Heathrow took 'sympathy' action, which was also not authorised by the trade union concerned - the Transport and General Workers’ Union(TGWU). This resulted in the cancellation of more than 700 flights at one of the busiest times of the year.

The dispute

Gate Gourmet is one of the world’s largest providers of in-flight meals, operating in 29 countries with a total workforce of 22,000. It has been owned since 2002 by the US venture capital firm Texas Pacific (TPG). The company has not made a profit since 2000 due to falling revenues in the face of increased cost competition in the airline sector and rising oil prices, which have squeezed catering services and budgets. The UK firm lost GBP 22 million in 2004 and is due to make a bigger loss in 2005.

Crisis talks had been underway for months with the TGWU about restructuring plans that included staffing reductions, changes to overtime payments and the flexible deployment of staff to boost productivity. Rates of pay and the final-salary pension scheme were to be unaffected, but the package was rejected by the workforce. On 5 August 2005, the company offered mediation, and this was scheduled for 12 August. However the dispute came to a head on 10 August when the company took on 130 seasonal staff who are employed on lower rates of pay. Workers interpreted this as a threat to their jobs since the company was considering redundancies. One shift refused to return to work while their representatives sought talks with management. A similar sit-in six weeks earlier had ended when managers persuaded staff to return to work, but on this occasion the company regarded this as unofficial strike action and dismissed 350 workers at its Heathrow South unit, with a reported 670 workers eventually sacked in total.

August 1970

9 August 1970 -Fierce clashes break out between Police and the local black people in Notting Hill as they march to the police station in Notting Hill, London, to protest against police raids of the Mangrove restaurant. 9 local activists are charged with rioting offences.  

August 2017

8 August 2017 -  15-year-old, Jermaine Goupall is stabbed to death in a late night "Machette" attack on a residential street in Croydon in a so called rival gang attacked sparked by "Drill Music"  where rival gangs taught each other. The Goupall family were adamant that their child was no gang member and he was caught up in violence  on his way home from the Cinema on the eve of his 16th Birthday.  

Police have launched a murder investigation after they were called at about 11pm last night to the Thornton Heath area of Croydon.


August 2017

8 August 2017 -  15-year-old, Jermaine Goupall is stabbed to death in a late night "Machette" attack on a residential street in Croydon in a so called rival gang attacked sparked by "Drill Music"  where rival gangs taught each other. The Goupall family were adamant that their child was no gang member and he was caught up in violence  on his way home from the Cinema on the eve of his 16th Birthday.  

Police  launched a murder investigation after they were called at about 11pm  to the Thornton Heath area of Croydon.


August 1990

7 August 1990 -  BBC broadcast a  discussion programme called "Hear-Say", Lilian  Barder (pictured) joined a group of ex-service men and women from the former African and Caribbean colonies. They debated the pros and cons of supporting Britain in the two world wars with members of a younger, critical generation.

When some of the younger members of the audience failed to understand why black people from across the British Empire joined the war effort, Lilian explained why she had joined the WAAF: “We [black people] would have ended up in the ovens.”

Lilian understood that, if Hitler had invaded England, Britain’s black citizens would have suffered the fate of black people in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe: they would have been rounded up and interned in concentration camps.

Thanks to Voice Online for the above information.

August 1984

6 August 1984 - Tessa Sanderson sets a then  Olympic Record of 69.56m  to win Javelin Gold for GB at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, USA . Tessa was also a 3 times Commonwealth Games Javelin Champion. 

August 1999

5 August 1999 -Mark Butcher of Surrey Cricket Club stands in as Test Captain for the injured Nasser Hussain i nthe 3rd Test vs New Zealand . In doing so he became the first mixed race player to Captain England in Cricket. His white father , Alan Butcher also played for England as an Opening Bat like his son back in 1978. 

August 2012

4 August 2012 - Jessica Ennis is  crowned Olympic heptathlon champion in front of an adoring home crowd, as a new British record carried her to gold.

In one of the iconic moments of the London Games, the woman long anointed as the face of the Games fulfilled her destiny with a series of brilliant personal bests that left her rivals helpless.

Ennis knew she was almost certain of the title going into Saturday evening's final event, and she delivered with two minutes 8.65secs in the 800m.

The 26-year-old's total of 6,955 points was a huge 306 points ahead of Germany's Lilli Schwarzkopf in silver and 327 clear of world champion Tatyana Chernova in bronze.


With thanks to BBC Sport for the above information and photograph   

August 1964

3 August 1964 - Social worker Rhaune Laslett ( pictured 2016 by The Voice) organises a festival, the first outdoor event in Notting Hill. Laslett — who was of Native American and Russian descent — was already an established figure, working towards healing racial and class-based tensions in the area through a range of initiatives. She maintained that the idea for the festival came to her in a vision, during which she saw a multi-racial community dancing joyfully together in the streets. 

The Greater London Authority agree with Laslett and credit this as the actual start of the Notting Hill Festival and not the 1966 event -wdiely seen as the first Notting Hill Carnival.

With thanks also to www.redbullmusicacademy.com for the above information 


August 1972

2 August 1972 -  Race Riots over new council housing allocations break out in Toxteth, Liverpool.Black residents clash with white skinheads to go alongside their feeling of  police discrimination and the impact of living in a socially deprived area.The rioting which took place over five days focused around the Windsor Gardens Estate and Falkner Square Estate. It was said Skinheads attacked black people indiscriminately forcing local residents to  erect barricades to the entrance of the estate to repel the expected attack from the skinheads. .


August 1997

1 August 1997 -Armit Sidhu  becomes the first  Asian player in the UK to sign pro forms for a club when he signed for Derby County  in 1998. 

Although he never went on to play for the first team and neither for Bury FC, he did make some progress at Semi pro level with clubs such  as Shepshed Dynamo, Gresley Rovers, Bedworth United , Long Buckby and finally in the 2007/8 season for Daventry Town

July 2017

31 July  2017 - The Asian business community celebrated their success in a glamorous ceremony held in the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel with the 6th English Asian Business Awards.

Organised by Oceanic Consulting, the country’s leading ethnic promotions and consulting company, the black tie event acknowledged and celebrated the accomplishments, determination and hard work of individuals and organisations from the Asian business community throughout England.

Hosted by BBC Radio Leicester’s, Kamlesh Purohit the 6th English Asian Business Awards saw individuals and organisations across England to be recognised for their achievements with categories ranging from Corporate Leader of the Year to Impact Business of the Year.

The winners of the 24 accolades are as follows:

Micro Business of the Year 2017 went to VB Creative Photography (Preston).                                                                             New Business of the Year went to Chit Chaat Chai (London).                   Rising Star of the Year went to Amrita Makkar (Principal Hotel Company, London).                                 Young Achiever of the Year went to Abz Navsarka (DessertVan.co.uk, Coventry).

Best Marketed Business went to Goa Beer UK (London).

The Community Award went to Women's CHAI Project (Oldham).

Convenience Retailer of the Year went to Nisa Local and Post Office (Fletton, Peterborough).

Best Food Establishment went to Rump 'N Ribs Steakhouse (Manchester).

Best in Accounting went to Harish Dass (Smith & Williamson, London).

Best in Law went to Hari Pabla (Pabla & Pabla, Manchester).

Best Professional in Business went to Dr Khalid Master (Bank View Smile Studios, Blackburn).                      Retail Business of the Year went to Janan Stores (Bradford).                                                                                                                  Wholesaler of the Year went to Khanjra Wholesale International Foods (Blackburn).                         Online Business of the Year went to Sherwani King (Birmingham).

SME Business of the Year went to Nafees Bakers (Bradford).

Impact Business of theYear went to Tailoring By Manoj Makwana (Middlesex).

Corporate Leaders of theYear went to Sultan Choudhury OBE (Al Rayan Bank, Birmingham).                  Family Run Business of the Year went to Woodbourne Group (Birmingham).

Businessman of the Year went to Navid Dean (Solar Street Lighting, Manchester).              Businesswoman of the Year went to Manjeet Rai (Capital Care Group, Shrewsbury).                               Entrepreneur of the Year went to Adeem Younis (Penny Appeal, Wakefield).

International Business of the Year went to Axis Bank (London).

Business of the Year went to Three Sisters Care (London).

Power Business of the Year went to Regal Foods (Bradford).

July 1968

30 July 1968  -Barbara Blake Hannah becomes the the first Black TV journalist on British television at the start-up of Thames TV and later worked with BBC-TV and Channel 4. She appeared in the THAMES TV daily magazine programme “TODAY” in 1968, but due to racist comments her contract was terminated after 9 months. Moira Stuart is wrongly recognised as the first Black Female News Presenter on Television  

July 2011

29 July 2011 – Wolverhampton man Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, 23, is sentenced to 12 years in prison for making calls on an internet blog for MPs who backed the war in Iraq to be murdered.


July 1935

28 July 1935 - With the growing crisis in Ethopia and the foreign invasion by Italy, a meeting of the International African Friends of Ethiopia takes place in London. Photograph shows  people on the platform at a meeting of the International African Friends of Ethiopia in Trafalgar Square, taken by Tomlin (Courtesy of Daily Herald Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)