This resource was compiled with the help of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Lancashire Archives, Preston Community Education Service, Windrush Initiatives, Preston Caribbean Carnival, University of Central Lancashire and people from Preston’s African Caribbean community.

Together with Kitchen Sink Arts, who facilitated the gathering of information for this project, we are committed to contributing to the understanding, knowledge and enjoyment of heritage, based upon the expertise and experience of local, regional and national contributors and researchers.

We hope this resource will prove to be both useful and inspiring.







Ancient Histories
Egypt and the Nile Valley
The Greeks
The Romans

New World Problems

From the Local Archives

Expressing Freedom

Lancashire Sports
Arthur Wharton
More Sporting Legends

Fighting for Everybody
World War I
World War II
The Battle of Bamber Bridge




Preston's Windrush Pioneers
Setting up Church
Sports and Social

Arts and Culture
Cecil Baugh
Noel Coombs
Philip Duncan
Lubaina Himid
David Knight
Preston Black History Group
Kitchen Sink Arts
Windrush Festival

Memorable Dates

Further Reading

About the project


In 1926, an African-American scholar called Carter G. Woodson, together with a group of black scholars, announced something new - a black history week (that would later become black history month) in order to publicise and celebrate the hidden achievements of people of Africa heritage, to encourage oppressed black communities in America and to promote more study into Africans and people of African descent everywhere.

We now know and recognise that the many advantages of modern life are built upon the ancient wisdoms of kingdoms in Africa and Asia and throughout history, even when enslaved, peoples of African descent have added to local and global societies through inventiveness and great effort against the odds.

It was the African-Caribbean ‘Windrush’ Generation in England who, when faced with discrimination and racism, began to positively change how black people were viewed in Britain by sharing their own knowledge and culture with wider communities.

This resource considers these different histories, links between Britain, the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa itself, and our local community in Preston Lancashire, and presents the stories of successful people of African descent who have lived, visited and settled in this area.

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Egypt and the Nile Valley Empires

• Among the many African Empires and States, Egypt was the first African Empire known to Europe

• The oldest artist made objects from Africa in the Harris Museum are Egyptian

• John Garstang was the most famous explorer from Lancashire. In Meroe, a Sudanese kingdom, he found an ancient wall drawing of astronomical apparatus.



For more information on the Harris Museum Collections go to Harris Archaeology Information


There are still Egyptian peoples whose historic empires grew by trading east- and northeast-ward out of Africa, but they now look very different from the original pharaohs and their peoples. While black African empires continued around the continent of Africa, the Nile Valley became the home of peoples from the Mediterranean and Middle East 2,000 years after the building of the pyramids.

The oldest artist made objects from Africa in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery are the Egyptian artefacts – religious ornaments and everyday objects from an ancient world. Some pieces were excavated by John Garstang in 1899-1900.

John Garstang (1876-1956) was born in Blackburn, Lancashire


The 5,000 year old hair style

Garstang was appointed Honorary Reader in Egyptology at The University of Liverpool in 1902. This is now the School of Archaeology, Classics and Oriental Studies.

The Preston Corporation felt an Egyptian collection would be beneficial to the viewing public right from the start and the Harris Museum subscribed to the Egypt Exploration Fund between 1888 and 1927.

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The Greek Empire and the early Mediterranean explorers

• The Greeks conquered Egypt and made the city they built there, Alexandria, the centre of their culture

• Greek explorers came to Britain over 2,000 years ago but they were not the first...


Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) conquered Egypt and proclaimed himself a Pharaoh in 332 BC. He established the city of Alexandria in Egypt and it became the centre of the Greek world and the centre of its international commerce, art and science. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders and the Library of Alexandria was the biggest known library at that time.

The last Pharaoh of the Greek reign over Egypt was a Greek princess, Cleopatra VII, named after the ancient African Cleopatras, who died in 30 BC.

Pytheas of Massalia was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony of Massalia (modern-day Marseille). He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe in about 325 BC, and in this voyage he visited a considerable part of Great Britain. Pytheas was not the first explorer to reach Britain but it was said he crossed the whole country on foot. He reported that Britain was subject to frosts, and that numerous populations of natives lived in thatched huts, and were ruled by many kings who fought from chariots. The Greeks were possibly the first Mediterranean peoples to also explore some of sub-Saharan Africa and write about Africans. Simmias, for example, explored Ethiopia.

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The Romans

The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus came to the north of Britain in 208AD

• Septimius Severus was born in north Africa

• The Roman Army was multicultural and included African soldiers


In the official history of England, the first recorded adventures of a man of African descent in the north of England was in 208-9 AD when the mixed-heritage Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (born in north Africa in 145 AD) brought the largest defensive force ever mobilised by the Roman army up past Hadrian’s Wall, to battle with the Celtic tribes of northern Britain.

More than 50,000 Roman soldiers and their commanders died as they crashed across the northern countryside, sweeping their way halfway up in to Scotland and finally to total conquest.

The Telegraph Newspaper published an article in 2013 stating: “A genetic study of five thousand people found that up to four million men in England and Wales carry distinctive genetic signatures which are most commonly found, and likely have their origin, in Italy. Researchers estimate that the influx of tens of thousands soldiers was responsible for at least a quarter of the total. Romans are thought to have accounted for between four and eight per cent of all men in Britain – a much greater proportion than at any other point in history.”


This was to be Septimius Severus’ last victory in a long military career. He died of illness in York in 211 AD, aged 66, after a lifetime of prestige and was succeeded by his sons who gave Roman citizenship to all free Britons. The Severan dynasty ruled the Roman Empire for another 40 years.

Around 383AD the Roman Armies left the north of Britain after living in the area for over 300 years. The Romans who stayed and their descendents in what became Lancashire began the region’s recorded multicultural heritage, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Coins from Severus' reign. For more information on the Harris Museum Coin Collection go to Coin Collection Information

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European trade wars and migratory expansion into the Caribbean Islands and the Americas began what is now called the African Holocaust. Thousands of Africans every year were forcibly moved from one continent to another and enslaved. Restrained in horrendous conditions and with a life expectancy of on average three years, enslavement was resisted through countless rebellions, revolutions and everyday defiance.

Although this resource is about what people of African descent have done, rather than what was done to them, it should be noted that Lancashire’s connection to black history in the Americas and Caribbean began much earlier than the civil rights movements. The white slaves of the Empires of the Middle East included mariners and traders from Lancashire. There are many interesting accounts of raiders sailing to shores throughout Europe and even as far north as Iceland capturing European people living by the sea who were taken away to be made slaves throughout the 1600s. Yet the region did actively have involvement in the African Slaves Trades. Lancaster traders campaigned against Abolition, and merchants from Preston tried to join the business, sending out four ships to trade in enslaved Africans, but were unsuccessful.

For more information on white slavery read this BBC documentary article or ‘The White Slave, or Memoirs of a Fugitive’


• The status of Africans from indentured servitude (for a specific period of time) to enslavement (not allowed to leave) happened gradually

Slavery was outlawed in Britain, yet Britain became the biggest slave-trading nation in the world

Around 12 million people were taken into enslavement. In 200 years that equals over 60,000 people captured per year, with many dying before they reached the Americas or the Caribbean

After the American War of Independence (1775-83) many black American refugees came to Britain.



The Grave of the Unknown Lad

A few miles down river from Lancaster reputedly lies the body of a young enslaved servant, buried in a field by the seashore. The landmark is called 'Samboo's Grave' by locals, in educational and historical literature and on the map of England. The grave is situated in the village at Sunderland Point and was given its 'name' in 1796 by Reverend James Watson, a Lancaster man who went to Sunderland Village on holiday, and was told the story.

The grave is evidence of the very human scale of the harshness of the times. Someone gave birth to that child, someone took the child across the sea to this spot. People dug the grave and other people remembered the story and told it to others.

Nobody now knows if the child was of African or Indian descent, if he died from cholera, or as the local legend has it, he 'pined away' because his master left him in the village to go off on business .

Because of changes to how the land was used around the village, it became impossible to get to the grave during high tide, making the site very isolated.



The grave's name makes it very difficult to talk about this landmark. During the time of the Abolition Movement however, it became a powerful symbol the Abolitionists used in the region to show all that was wrong with the business of enslavement.




Henry 'Box' Brown

For more information on Henry 'Box Brown, you can read his own words Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself, published in Manchester in 1851.


In 1851 Henry ‘Box’ Brown visited Preston to show his ‘Panorama of American Slavery’ and tell his own story. Brown was born into American enslavement around 1816 and sold away from his family when he was 15 years old. In his own words he went to a kinder ‘owner’ than some others. From his book Narrative of The Life Of Henry Box Brown, Written By Himself (printed in Manchester in 1851), there are many of the details of his escape and evidence the abolitionists used to convince public opinion of the right of the cause. Brown asserted that black enslavement in America continued for so long because most slave-owners enjoyed and profited from their ‘immoral’ treatment of enslaved women. In England and America the issue of the growing influence of this immorality was another of the activating features of the Abolitionist Movement because the pursuit of wealth from industrialisation had begun interfering with the ethical treatment and therefore the mental health of men and women enslaved or not.

“It is a horrible idea, but it is no less true, that no slave husband has any certainty whatever of being able to retain his wife a single hour; neither has any wife any more certainty of her husband: their fondest affection may be utterly disregarded, and their devoted attachment cruelly ignored at any moment a brutal slave-holder may think fit.”


Only a young man when he wrote his story, Brown had already endured seeing his wife and small children sold out from where they had lived, meaning they were lost to him probably forever. He realised in his despair that all he could now do was try to free himself and in that he was successful. Though crushed and deeply depressed by what had happened, he researched how to carry out his decision to escape and hit upon the idea of literally posting himself to freedom in a packing box. Henry ‘Box’ Brown was one of the few who escaped and managed to get to England to tell the tale. His story was sensational.

Henry Brown stayed in England for 25 years and married again. Nearing 60 years old, he returned to America with his British family, we can only wonder how his wife and mixed-heritage children got on in their new home.

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• There have been people of African descent living in Lancashire for over 300 years

• Rev. John Guttridge, famous for promoting teetotalism, was also Lancashire’s most famous Abolitionist

• The lack of cotton and therefore work during the American Civil War caused a famine in Lancashire and there was a lot of pressure to support the American slavers.


There are records at the Lancashire Archives to show that throughout the 1700s and 1800s African-Caribbean peoples came and raised families in Preston Lancashire and throughout the north of Britain.

For more information on Records relating to black history at the Lancashire Archives, Lancashire Archives Research Information.


A life of Adventure

This is the story of Edwards Albert[s] who lived in Preston and was born in Jamaica in 1835, two years after the end of African enslavement in the Caribbean. He went to sea when he was aged just 9 years old.

At the age of sixteen he sailed to London and then Glasgow in February, 1851, to work on an ocean-going ship. Here are his own words about the event that was to shape his subsequent life:

“I engaged to serve as cook on board the barque Madeira, of Glasgow, on her voyage from Glasgow to California, thence to China, and thence home to a port of discharge in the United Kingdom. I signed articles, and delivered up my register-ticket as a British seaman, as required by law. I commenced the service on board the said vessel, under the said engagement, and sailed with that vessel on the 18th of February, 1851. I discharged my duty as cook on board the said vessel from the date of its leaving the Clyde until June the same year, in which month the vessel rounded Cape Horn, at that time my legs became frost bitten and I became in consequence unfit for duty”.


Cape Horn, known then as the Sailors’ Graveyard, was a stretch of water that tested the best of ship technology. Icebergs regularly impeded safe progress, waves 100 foot high, churned up by monstrous winds free to race without land to break their journey, could overcome a ship, prepared or not. Lucky to survive the icy seas, Alberts’ frostbite affected both legs and feet, and in an attempt to help, he was hauled to the ship’s ovens where his legs and feet were held inside for minutes by his crewmates. Of course the excruciating ‘treatment’ didn’t work and six weeks later when the ship landed in Chile his feet were gangrenous and he was near death. The crew were ordered to take him to hospital, where he was expected to quickly die. But he held on. He held on while they amputated one and then the other of his feet and lower limbs.

During the five months it took for his legs to heal someone in the hospital made him a wheeled board so he could get about a little when he was sufficiently recovered. The first thing he did was sort out how to get to Britain. He had nothing in the world except the wages he had earned before he became disabled, together with his sailors’ compensation.


In 1862, when Alberts was 26 years old, his story appeared in print in The Morning Chronicle, London. By then he had married a woman from Sheffield called Ellen who was of mixed heritage (her father was from Antigua) and he was working as a crossing sweeper while his wife sold fruit. He had been cheated out of his compensation.


The 1881 Census records for Lancashire show that Ellen and their children had moved to Preston, a town that was growing fast with jobs for all in the mills and associated industries. By 1860 there were 2,650 cotton mills in Lancashire, employing around 440,000 people and producing half of the world’s cotton. Alberts' daughter married a local man, his son (who performed on Morecambe Pier as a comedian when it existed) married the girl next door. His grandchildren went to St Augustine’s School (now a sports centre) and some of Alberts’ descendents still live in Lancashire.

Edward Alberts did not appear in the 1881 Census, but he is definitely with his family in Preston in 1891, aged 55 years old by then but still travelling around freely despite his disability.

He died in Bournemouth just a year later, maybe trying to find a way back to Jamaica to see his home again. His grandfather had been enslaved and his father indentured. Alberts was from the first generation of peoples in the Caribbean to be born free and also classified as a British subject, and he lived his life of adventure with courage and fortitude.

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Upon the Abolition of the Slave Trades and then Slavery, a new cultural form sprung up in the Caribbean and quickly spread through the Americas. In the 1830s laws that made dancing and music illegal for enslaved peoples became obsolete. Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean Carnival immediately developed, combining local and secret rituals and celebrations into a big yearly festival. Some of the dancing steps, rhythms and movements they used and still use are millennia old. Carnival music – Calypso, Soca and Steel Pans – inspired new musical forms all over the world, from Skiffle in Britain to High Life and Rumba in West Africa. There are now more than 72 Caribbean Carnivals worldwide every year and the Carnival Arts are recognised as a global cultural influence.

Preston Caribbean Carnival brought its African-inspired dancing and music onto the streets in 1973. There is a permanent display of its history and some of the many different costumes in the Discover Preston Gallery at the Harris Museum.

(left) Julia Russell in her award-winning carnival costume, Preston 2012

MOKO JUMBIE (right) Moko is a “diviner” in the Congo language. The term "jumbie" or ghost was added by the freed slaves. It was believed that the height of the stilts was associated with the ability to foresee evil faster than ordinary men. For more information on Caribbean Carnival characters click here

Preston Caribbean Carnival's web site

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• There has been black sporting champions in Lancashire for over 130 years

• Gary Sobers, the world’s best cricketer (so far), gained international experience in Lancashire

• C.L.R. James, one of the world’s best black sports writers, lived in Lancashire


Arthur Wharton

Arthur Wharton was born in Jamestown, Ghana, on the 28th October 1865. His father was Henry Wharton, a Missionary from Grenada in the Caribbean who had travelled to Ghana. His mother was Annie Florence Egyriba, related to the Fante Royal Family. Both of his parents were half-Scottish.

Arthur Wharton moved to England aged 19, to train as a Methodist preacher at Cleveland College, Darlington and it was while he was there that he began his amazing sporting careers, first as a ‘gentleman amateur’, then becoming a full-time athlete.

Wharton was spotted at Darlington Football Club, where he was selected to play as goalkeeper and became the first black professional footballer in Britain. In 1885/86 season, whilst still a Darlington player, Arthur was selected for the prestigious Newcastle and District team now called Newcastle United. He was spotted by Preston North End and was part of the team that reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1886-87.


Arthur Wharton was known, even in print, as “Darkie” Wharton. Nevertheless, it was for much more than the colour of his skin that he stood out. He left Preston in 1888 to concentrate on his running, and was the first sprinter to run 100 yards in 10 seconds in authentic championship conditions, making him the first black Amateur Athletic Association champion. He stopped the watches at 10 seconds “dead” in both his heat and in the final. Nine months later, when the AAA became the first governing body to publish a list of records, his proper name appeared at the top of what, in effect, was the first world record roll.

The current men’s world record is 9.58 seconds (less than half a second faster than Wharton), set by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in 2009, 121 years later, while the women’s world record of 10.49 seconds was set by African American Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988 and still remains unbroken.

Wharton also joined the Home Guard of WW1 some time between 1915 and 1918, while he continued with sport. Even in his 50’s, an eyewitness reported that ‘he could catch pigeons’ (a compliment in Yorkshire!)

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Arthur Wharton - 1865-1930


More Sporting Legends

130 years after Arthur Wharton played for P.N.E. there is now a long list of top flight sportsmen that have and still do represent the City and County in regional, national and international sport.

In 1932, C.L.R. James left Trinidad for the small town of Nelson in Lancashire, England, at the invitation of his friend, West Indian cricketer Learie Constantine, who needed his help writing his autobiography Cricket and I (published in 1933). James also took a job as cricket correspondent with the Manchester Guardian.

In 1934, James wrote a three-act play about the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture, which was staged in London’s West End in 1936 and starred Paul Robeson, who, that same year, stayed in Preston for one night only to give a concert performance. Paul Robeson later remembered his time in the region with fondness and remarked on ‘the richness of the folk culture of Lancashire’.


While editor of The Nation, James led the successful campaign in 1960 to have Frank Worrell appointed the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team. James believed that ’the relationship between players and the public was a prominent reason behind the West Indies’ achieving so much with so little’. Sir Frank Worrell, knighted in 1964, was just one of the many great cricket players from the Caribbean who played in Lancashire, along with Gary Sobers the greatest cricketer there has yet to be and still an inspiration for any sportsman.

Clive Lloyd Played for Lancashire C.C. from 1968-86, including a captaincy.
Colin Croft Lancashire C.C. 1977-82
Paul Burke Preston's Commonwealth Light Welterweight Champion 1997-1999
Lenny Johnrose Preston footballer for PNE 1992
Ashwell Prince Lancashire C.C.'s top run scorer 2012-2015
Clark Carlisle Preston footballer, chairman of the PFA and ambassador for the 'Kick it Out' campaign
Jermaine Beckford, Jamaican international, joined PNE in 2014

(Right) Sir Gary Sobers King Cricket, knighted in 1975. Played for Radcliffe C.C. Lancashire 1958-62.



• Black people from America, the Caribbean and Africa fought in World War I and II

• Calypso music from the Caribbean became very popular around the world when soldiers mixed together socially

• After World War II, people of African descent were asked to come to Britain to help rebuild the country



15,600 men of the British West Indies Regiment served with the Allied forces at the outbreak of World War I. Jamaica contributed two-thirds of these volunteers, while others came from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the Bahamas, British Honduras, Grenada, British Guiana (now Guyana), the Leeward Islands, St Lucia and St Vincent. Nearly 5,000 more subsequently volunteered to join up.

In Palestine and Jordan the BWIR saw front-line service against the Turkish army; in France, Egypt and Italy the men served in auxiliary roles. Over 1,200 were killed or died, while more than 2,500 were wounded. 81 medals for bravery were won, and 49 men were mentioned in despatches.

General Allenby to the Governors of Jamaica and the other British West Indian colonies: "All ranks behaved with great gallantry under heavy rifle fire, and contributed in no small measure to the success of the operation."

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In Africa, 55,000 men served as combatant soldiers and many hundreds of thousands more as carriers and auxiliary troops. An estimated 10,000 were killed or died while serving. 166 decorations were awarded. Many saw active service in their home continent, taking part in the campaigns to capture the German-controlled territories of Togo, Cameroon, German South West Africa (now Namibia) and German East Africa (now Tanzania).



About 16,000 men and women from the Caribbean Islands volunteered for service alongside the British during the Second World War. Of these, well over a 100 were women who were posted overseas - 80 chose the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) for their contribution, while around 30 joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). Around 6,000 West Indians served with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force, in roles from fighter pilots to bomb aimers, air gunners to ground staff and administration. Thousands of West Indian seamen made their contributions in one of the Second World War’s most dangerous services, the Merchant Navy - one-third of all merchant seamen were to die during the war.

One thousand volunteers for army service were formed into the Caribbean Regiment, which went overseas in 1944 and saw service in the Middle East and Italy. In addition, West Indians served in the Royal Engineers as highly skilled technicians. 236 Caribbean volunteers were killed or reported missing during the Second World War; 265 were wounded. Caribbean air force personnel received 103 decorations.


During the Second World War some 375,000 men and women from African countries served in the Allied forces. They took part in campaigns in the Middle East, North Africa and East Africa, Italy and the Far East. Men of the 81st and 82nd West African Divisions served with great distinction against the Japanese in Burma, as part of the famous ‘Forgotten’ 14th Army. The 81st was composed of units from the Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast (now Ghana), while the 82nd comprised further reinforcements from Nigeria and the Ghana. Both Divisions formed part of the RWAFF (Royal West African Frontier Force).

Soldiers from the RWAFF.

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The Battle of Bamber Bridge

It all began on the evening of 24 June 1943, and the incident highlighted the racial tensions in the armed forces even though they were all on the same side.

Two white military policemen from America (MPs) had entered the Hob Inn on Church Road to arrest a black American soldier, who was out without a pass. An argument ensued, with local people and British servicemen siding with the black soldier and the small group of comrades he was with. The MPs left the pub to seek reinforcements and intercept the soldiers as they returned to their barrack rooms. Rumours at the camp that the MPs were going to shoot the returning men meant a crowd had gathered at the gates of the camp. A fight broke out, guns were drawn and several men were shot.

At midnight, a large group of MPs arrived at the camp armed with machine guns. A general panic broke out, resulting in black soldiers arming themselves from the camp gunroom. There was then general chaos. Groups of armed American men were stalking each other in the fields and back lanes of Bamber Bridge until around 4am the next morning, when an American general arrived. The only black officer was placed in charge of the situation and the rifles were then all handed in.


The Civil Rights Movements in America and anti-imperialism movements in the colonised countries of Africa gained much ground after the experiences of black troops who fought for the Allies in World Wars I and II.




There was a brief reference to this incident in the autobiography Little Wilson and Big God, Being the First Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess.

He wrote: ‘In 1943 there had been the Battle of Bamber Bridge, well remembered, though it never got into the official chronicles of the war. Black soldiers had barricaded the camp against the whites ... The Brigg [the local name for Bamber Bridge] was totally black in sentiment. When the US military authorities had demanded that the pubs impose a colour bar, the landlords had responded with “Black Troops Only”.’

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The Hob Inn, Bamber Bridge


The arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in June 1948 at Tilbury Dock, Essex, in England, marked the beginning of Britain’s post-war growth and economic redevelopment. The passengers on board the Windrush were invited to come to Britain after World War II, to assist with labour shortages. Many of the passengers had fought for Britain during the war. They are now known as the 'Windrush Generation.'

Elaine Marshall came from Trinidad and Tobago at the end of the 1950s, and in 2004 remembered:

“My country is a cosmopolitan place. We lived in the city of Port of Spain. We mixed with everybody – Indians, Chinese, Portuguese – we treat them as everyone else and they are welcome. When we came to Preston it wasn’t like that. But we know how to handle it, being cosmopolitan, so we have no problems whatsoever.”

Many of the Windrush passengers had been brought up to believe they were British in the fullest sense, but on arrival in England they were shocked to find that in certain places in Preston a ‘colour bar’ had been set up – a refusal to allow people of African descent to socialise with locals, and an unwillingness to employ people of African descent in local businesses.

Injustices are remedied when ordinary people speak up, organize, and protest and by learning about the actions of those who acted for 'change' we see democracy's vitality.

Preston’s newest citizens were saddened, but not deterred, and found ways to help themselves. They made their own entertainment centres, running two sports and social clubs, and joined in with amateur sporting events in Preston and beyond. Teams from Jalgos and the Caribbean Club quickly ranked and the Caribbean Cricket Team had a 20 year unbeaten record for the Preston and District Cricket League Turner Cup, helped along by ‘Master Bowler’ Alwin Mondesire.

Mrs Marshall went to work at Courtaulds until their closure at the end of 1979, the beginning of a great economic recession in the north of England.


She organised groups of women to help each other find support and was one of the woman who founded Sahara, a local community centre, becoming a well respected community activist in Preston for her selfless work. She was for many years involved in the Caribbean Carnival and was the Carnival Queen is 2002, aged 80 years old.

In 2012 the City of Preston bestowed the title of Guild Burgess on her, one of 20 new people’s choice burgesses, a title that can now be passed on through her family.


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Preston's Seventh Adventist Church

Many aspects of African religions made it possible for the enslaved to adopt Christianity and creatively maintain aspects of African practices and beliefs, because most African traditions presumed a Supreme Deity, so it was not difficult to adopt the Christian concept of God. One devotional aspect that all Africans shared was a belief in the power of the human voice, and dance. Dance was like prayer - an integral part of religion and culture. In America, it became known as the "ring shout." The dancing and singing were directed to the ancestors and the gods, but, as the enslaved embraced Christianity, it became part of their Christian worship. In order to differentiate this prayer from mundane dance, "shouters" could not cross their feet, and the circle moved in one direction: counterclockwise. The joy of dancing and singing inherent in the ‘ring shout’ would eventually develop into the energetic, life-affirming music of gospel.

In the Caribbean church services were more traditional but on arrival in England people of African descent were excluded from attending normal church services through racism, and so formed groups for worship in frontrooms and community centres where worship was more comfortable.



The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Preston started this way and after nearly 50 years has grown into a large vibrant Christian community with its own church building in Grimshaw Street.

"Preston Seventh-day Adventist church aims to be an integral part of the Preston community while sharing the love of Jesus with everyone in the context of the three angels' messages of Revelation."

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Sports and Social

In 1963 a group of Preston's newest citizens from the African-Caribbean community got together for a game of cricket. They called themselves the Jalgos Sports and Social Club.

Eight years later the door then opened on a new venue called the Caribbean Club on Canute Street. The club became the home for the first Steel Pans band in Preston, where the Caribbean Carnival had its after-party and where the homework and countless other clubs started.

In 1976 Jalgos also founded its own sports and social club in Rose Street, where the club remains to this day.

Teams from Jalgos and the Caribbean Club ranked consistently high in cricket, pool and dominoes, hosting amateur tournaments for teams all over the country.

The Jamaican High Commissioner regularly set out for Preston to speak with the members on all sorts of issues and to congratulate their amateur sporting prowess.

A helping hand also stretched back to the Caribbean when the Clubs set up a charity to help finance a hospital in Jamaica.





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Contemporary black artists address notions of identity in a variety of ways, but one of the major themes is confronting stereotypes, and effectively 're-using' them, in order to move forward in a process of undermining and erasing outmoded concepts, and facilitating the mending and recovery of self as a microcosm of society.

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Cecil Baugh (1908-2005)

Cecil Baugh was born in Jamaica in 1908 and worked as a local potter, a ‘yabba man’, until he volunteered for the Call-Up during World War II. He was stationed at Clitheroe, Lancashire, and served with the Royal Engineers. After the war, when soldiers were given the opportunity to train for any employment, Baugh returned on the ‘Empire Windrush’ and trained with British potter Bernard Leach. By the time he died, he was internationally acknowledged as Jamaica’s first master potter and his work is now collected worldwide.

Cecil Baugh demonstrating Jamaican pottery techniques in 1949.


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Noel Coombs (1930-2003)

Noel Coombs was born in Barbados and came to Preston in the late 1950s to work as an industrial photographer for Courtaulds factory. He then embarked on career moves that saw him work as a freelance for local and international newspapers, and become the royal photographer in the region.

He spent many years documenting the achievements and activities of the African-Caribbean community in Preston, such as the opening the Caribbean Club, the success of the Caribbean Cricket Team, the Caribbean Carnival and VIP visits to the Jalgos and Caribbean sports and social clubs.

His photographs now form part of a growing collection of African Caribbean artefacts at the Harris Museum and Lancashire Archives.

To find out more about local archived photography of importance, go to Harris Museum Photographic Collection

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Philip Duncan

Born in St. Vincents, Phil Duncan has been one of the main 'movers and shakers' for Preston's annual Caribbean Carnival for over 40 years.

He has managed the dance troupe Spectrum Association for more than half that time, and they have one of the best records for winning the annual King and Queen dance and costume competition.

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Lubaina Himid

Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, but raised in England, Lubaina Himid MBE was one of the pioneers of the Black Art movement in the 1980s, a forum for black artists who were exploring the social and political issues surrounding black history. Her art focuses on themes of cultural history and reclaiming identities, using the nuances in the play between editing and visibility to energise her images.

Professor Himid works at the University of Central Lancashire and is the principal driving force behind both the new Institute of Black Atlantic Research and the on-going Black Artists Paperwork Collection.

Of particular relevance is the Making Histories Visible Project and Archive that houses an excellent collection of material by and about black artists from exhibitions and projects regionally and internationally staged during the 1980’s and early 1990’s right up to the present day. During the past 16 years the Archive has worked closely with museums and galleries to highlight specific but neglected aspects of their collections, assisting in the development of strategies for broadening participation by and with diverse audiences and artists.


From the exhibition Kangas from the lost sample book (2011/12) by Lubaina Himid


Lubaina Himid's art work is in many permanent collections including such institutions as Tate Britain, The Arts Council Collection, Birmingham City Art Gallery and the Harris Museum in Preston.

To find out more about the Making Histories Visible Archive click here

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The Nguzo Saba and David Knight

Redefining people of African descent through history also means exploring the legacies of African spirituality and identity without resorting to stereotypes. Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett; 1941) is an African-American professor, best known as the creator of the pan-African Kwanzaa. The rituals of the holiday promote African traditions and Nguzo Saba, the "seven principles of African Heritage" that Karenga described as "a communitarian African philosophy", a secular and humanistic way of exchange between people and community. Communitarian philosophy is based upon the belief that a person's social identity and personality are largely defined by community relationships.


The Nguzo Saba Centre in Preston was formed by a group of people working in the community led by David Knight, after working with Preston’s African Heritage community on various projects for many years. He is also an independent fashion designer, exploring African identity through contemporary design. His work has featured in a range of publications. He has made numerous appearances on television and radio and made keynote addresses at national and international conferences. His digital illustrations have been included in the Liverpool Biennial and Manchester’s Futuresonic (Future Everything) festival as well as the Big Book of Fashion Illustration by Martin Dawber.

Documentation from Nguzo Saba Centre, with its projects on community health and culture, are part of a growing collection of local black history memorabilia at the Lancashire Archives.

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Preston's Black History Group

The Preston Black History Group was set up in 2002 (and incorporated in 2011) to research, celebrate and find ways to collect local and regional black history. The group produces a range of activities for Black History Month and throughout the year, developing ideas and partnerships with groups and organisations to share histories and cultures.

For more information go to the group's web site.



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Kitchen Sink Arts Group

To help promote diverse arts in the region and with support from the University of Lancashire and Prescap, Kitchen Sink Arts Group started in 2001 as a loose group of black artists who exhibited every year during Black History Month.

Since then the group has grown into an organisation that has worked with schools, individuals and community groups, using art to explore contemporary themes and community issues. Our artists have worked with publishers and performance organisations exploring ways to entertain and inform audiences, making their research into black history become a dynamic cultural influence embedded in the local arts offer in Preston Lancashire and regionally.

Day at the Museum on Vimeo.

Community groups and individuals came to view and comment on the exhibitions at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery during the bicentennial commemorations for the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.



The Queen and Mr Wooton

The group also worked with the Merseyside Maritime Museum to create a performance using an event in the local stories from Liverpool's black history to explore the effects of racial violence.

For more information go to the group's web site

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Windrush Festival

Preston’s Windrush Festival, the newest black history celebration in Preston, is already in its fifth year. The festival was created by Adrian Murrell who was born in Preston, to parents from Montserrat and Barbados.

He says: “I started working in the African/Caribbean community in 1983 and a large part of my work consisted of looking at issues that directly affected black people and their families, my main focus is now to develop the Windrush Festival to make it the heart of our diverse, multi-heritage community.”

The Festival is a community gathering specifically designed to celebrate the achievements of the Windrush Generation and the local black Pioneers, featuring the best amateur cricketeers in a championship series of matches and musical entertainment is provided by local musicians.




To accompany the celebration, DJ Des Grant always brings the sounds.


For more information on times, dates and place, see Windrush Initiative's web site

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21 May - Diversity Day, officially known as "The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development", is an opportunity to help communities understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony. This day was created as a result of the destruction of the Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001.

25 May - Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

22 June - Windrush Festival is held around this time, when the SS Empire Windrush first came to England. Among the passengers were calypso musicians Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner, Lord Woodbine and Mona Baptiste, alongside 60 Polish women displaced during the Second World War

23 August - UK's National Slavery Memorial Day - also UNESCO's day for the International Remembrance of the (African) Slave Trade and its Abolition - is the focal date for national and local commemoration activities.


10 December - Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

December 26 to January 1 - Kwanzaa celebration, first created in 1966, the celebration was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzo Saba, the "seven principles of African Heritage"

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The Swahili term Maafa ("Great Disaster" in English) was introduced in Marimba Ani's book Let the Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora. It is used to describe the African Holocaust of enslavement. The term was popularized in the 1990s.
The vast majority of enslaved Africans landed in the Caribbean and South America and nearly 50% of those landed in Brazil. João da Cruz e Sousa, the son of emancipated slaves, is considered one of Brazil’s greatest poets.

Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Frantz Fanon, was a Martinique-born African-Caribbean psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and writer whose works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory, and Marxism.

Other Ancient African States and Kingdoms to explore include: Kemet (KMT), Nok, Kush, Axum, Swahili and Monomotapa.


International writers who have explored the relationship between African and European histories include:
Runoko Rashidi
Molefi Kete Asante
Walter Rodney
Wade Nobles
Chiekh Anta Diop
Basil Davidson.

Imhoteph - Builder of the first pyramid, renowned as the God of Medicine, scholar

The Kingdom of Kongo - the country's relationship with Portugal is an excellent example of Europeans in Africa and the growth of the African slave trades

Institute for Black Atlantic Research - at the University of Central Lancashire, fosters partnerships with museums, galleries, broadcasters and community organisations to promote the study of the Black Atlantic in the North West and beyond.