The pictures that reveal UK's hidden history
July 30, 2003 8:53 AM   Subscribe

The pictures that reveal UK's hidden history For the first time the complex and sometimes harrowing history of immigration to the UK is being told, through rarely seen photographs, official documents, maps and personal papers. And it's all online.
posted by turbanhead (5 comments total)
This is extremely cool.

I am biased, however, because I am an immigrant to the UK.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:05 AM on July 30, 2003

I should add more.

It's interesting because, when I moved here, I had this vague belief that everything in the UK was several hundreds of years old. I logically knew this couldn't be true, but it's still there. I mean, I came from Southern California -- there, 30 years and still standing is "old", and to go through town and think "This pavement has been here since before the US was created," well, it's a bit of a jump, y'know?

So it's nice to find a site which shows that the families in the UK aren't hundreds of years old or part of the "asylum-seeker" hysteria that's in the news every other day. It's nice to see, again, that immigrants play a deeply important part in British culture, and, yeah, it's self-validation for me -- that I belong here and that it was a good idea.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:23 AM on July 30, 2003

[this is good] - thanks turbanhead.

Yes, Katemonkey, immigration to Britain has a long pedigree. In fact, according to the Huguenot Society, the word 'refugee' originated with Huguenot exiles from France to England in the seventeenth century. (In fact, predating the United Kingdom itself, which didn't come into being until 1707).

19 Princelet Street, in London's East End, formerly a Huguenot silk weaver's house, then a synagogue, now a museum.
The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue in the City of London, built 1701.
Britain's first black mayor, John Archer (originally from Barbados) was elected in 1913. Shapurji Saklatvala (originally from Bombay) was first elected to Parliament in 1922.
Previous thread on Olaudah Equiano, the African slave who bought his freedom and became an anti-slavery campaigner.
posted by plep at 12:06 PM on July 30, 2003

London's early black history. Notably, John Blanke, the black trumpeter who served Henry VII and Henry VIII. By 1786, there were around 1,000 black people living in London, including some who had fled North America after the War of Independence.
posted by plep at 12:15 PM on July 30, 2003

Just out of curiosity, where were those slaves bound for? I would assume Brazil or the Indies, but it doesn't specify. 1869 is obviously after the US civil war and thus well after emancipation, but what nations in the Americas still had open African slave trading at the time?

Good links anyway everyone, thanks.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:12 PM on July 31, 2003

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