London’s Slave Trade: The People, the Port & the Profit
This thought provoking tour takes you through the streets and alleys of the City of London to uncover some of the forgotten history about the capital’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and will invite you to reconsider the legacy of slavery and whether enough has been done or is being done to acknowledge it.
|London Areas in Depth|
Some call it gentrification, others regeneration; the neighbourhood of Brixton in South London is a place that has undergone rapid transformation in the past couple of decades and has become a case study of urban change. On this walk, we'll explore some of the changes that are happening in Brixton, from a decrease in social housing to a shift in retail offerings and eateries. This is a part of London with a rich social history: find out about the area's origins as a major shopping destination, featuring London's first department store and the first retail thoroughfare to have electric street lighting - 'Electric Avenue' - immortalised in song by the reggae singer Eddy Grant. Brixton is a hub of the African-Caribbean community in Britain. Discover the history of the Windrush Generation, the people who moved from the Caribbean to Britain between the late 1940s and 1970 to help rebuild a city and country facing severe labour shortages after the ravages and destruction of World War 2. Finally, explore Brixton's history as a hotbed of activism, becoming a place that would lead the way in the fight for black, gay and women's rights and how in the 1980s, anger and resentment towards police brutality and racial discrimination led to a series of riots that left their mark on Brixton for many years.
The London Docklands: From Docks to Dollars
Discover the history of London's Docklands, first with a visit to the Museum of London Docklands, taking you back to a time of pirates and press gangs, sailors and sea shanties. The resonant atmosphere of this historic Grade I listed building is a great place to find out about the significance of trade and commerce in London's growth and development. Have a go operating the hoisting device known as a treadwheel crane (read: human hamster wheel), then experience the sights and smells of 'Sailortown', a meticulous recreation of the 19th century East London riverside. You'll also learn about the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the truly sobering London, Sugar and Slavery gallery. Then step outside for a walk and be amazed by the story of this area's rapid transformation over the past thirty years; from the once thriving first port of the British empire to the international business and financial district known as Canary Wharf.
|History & Prehistory|
The Black Presence in Georgian
The Georgian era (1714-1837) was one of rapid change and growth for London. It saw the advent of the Industrial Revolution and exponential growth in colonial trade, including the slave trade. It was an age of public executions, riot and gin addiction. It was the London of Jane Austen, Isaac Newton and William Hogarth. It was also the London of Bill Richmond, Mary Prince and Dido Belle: these are just some of the names of the thousands of Black people who were part and parcel of everyday life in the chaotic and changing world of Georgian London. This tour explores the lives of the Black Georgians; from freedom fighters and veterans to writers, boxers, musicians, an actor and an aristocrat. We’ll trace their steps in the British capital, discovering the achievements and contributions they made despite their encounters with racial prejudice. This tour aims to tell a more complete version of Georgian London than the ones you’ll read about in standard guides; revealing stories about the marginalised, overlooked and sometimes simply forgotten.
In October 2019 I was invited to speak with students and guests of Syracuse London on the subject of Black British history and my experiences of working in the Tourism industry as a person of colour. More information about the symposium can be found here: https://sulondon.syr.edu/symposium/black-london/