African-Caribbean People in Nottingham Exhibition
This exhibition draws on archival material in the Blue Mountain Women Group collection in Nottinghamshire Archives. Some of the images and objects were rescued from Nottingham sites and organizations that had closed and the material was at risk of being damaged, lost or destroyed. In 2018 it was decided that storing the archival material at the Nottinghamshire Archives meant that it was safe for future generations to access and that the storage conditions there would preserve it and keep the collection intact. People can access the collection with a reader’s ticket or library card.
Black Presence in Nottingham Exhibition panels
The three large panels in the room were originally exhibited in the Black Presence in Nottingham at Nottingham Castle in the 1990s. The panels provide images of: A group of three unknown soldiers during the First World War from the British West Indian Regiment. An unknown servicewoman from the Second World War, thought to be from the Caribbean. A portait of members of the Webb Family of Newstead Abbey with Abdullah Susi and James Chuma, David Livingstone’s African servants, taken in 1874.
Mr George Leigh
Calvin Atherton George Leigh was born at Jubilee Hospital on 25th January 1930 he attended Central Branch School in Kingston and later attended Kingston College. He was a member of the Cub and Scout Group at St. George Church. He arrived in England in 1944 and joined the R.A.F. He was demobbed in September 1948 after completing his training as a Welder. During his service in the R.A.F he worked in Airfield Construction Squadrons and as a clerk in the Orderly Room (Office.) He worked in industry as a welder where he gained the highest certificate to enable him to perform work as a high pressure welder on a variety of metals at power stations and Admiralty ships in the United Kingdom.
He formed the first black organisations in England – The West Indian Carib Cricket Club. He served as a founder member and treasurer in 1951 and subsequently amalgamated with Cosmopolitan to form the Colonial Social Club. The name was changed later to the Commonwealth Citizens Association in 1958. The Commonwealth Citizens Association was changed in 1971 to the West Indian Nationals Association which played a major role in establishing the A.C.N.A Centre. He served as the Chairman – Vice President and later President of W.I.N.A and was elected as Vice Chairman and Chairmen of the Community Relations Council (C.R.C) now renamed Racial Equality Council (R.E.C). He served as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Commission of Racial Equality East Midlands Division in Leicester and was a founder member of the now defunct Joint Indian, Pakistan, and Afro Caribbean Community Project.
He was a founder member of Positive Action in Training in Housing (P.A.T.H) East Midlands Committee in Leicester.
Founder member of ‘Back A Yard’ the weekly black community B.B.C Radio Nottingham programme and served as the Chairman. He represented the Community on Radio Trent.
Founder member of A.C.N.A Centre, he served as Treasurer and Manager. He is a founder member of the Afro Caribbean and Asian Forum and is the present chairman.
Acted for Councillor Tony Robinson, then Sheriff of Nottingham, in organizing the visit to Nottingham of the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Michael Manley, at the Albert Hall.
Other notable contributions made during his working life are Shop Steward and Crack Treasurer for the Boilermakers Union, long-time member of the Labour Party and activist. He retired from paid work in 1995 but continued to work and support, in a voluntary capacity, the organization which he has been acquainted with over the years.
The Sheriff Of Nottingham 1989 – 1990
He came to Nottingham in 1960. He worked as a bus driver for Nottingham City Transport for 25 years until his retirement 1986. He is a union member of the Transport and General Workers Union.
Mr Robinson was elected to the City Council in May 1987 as a councillor for Bestwood Park Ward, where he has lived for 22 years.
Vice Chair of Nottingham Community Relations Council. Founder member of the African, Caribbean and Asian Forum. He is a member of the governing body of Bigwood, Warren Hill and East Glade schools.
Councillor Robinson is an active supporter of the campaign to raise the public’s awareness of sickle cell anaemia to which the African, Caribbean and Asian Communities are particularly vulnerable.
He also helps charities involved with Cancer Relief and those helping dead, dumb and blind people.
The Sherriff of Nottingham 1994 – 1995
He was born on 22nd September 1929 and was educated at Graighead and Harrywatch elementary schools in Manchester Jamaica.
In 1942 at the age of sixteen he moved with his family to Kingston where he worked as a show maker then later became a professional welder and constructor, he was an apprentice for J.E Rowtum construction engineers.
Mr MacIntosh came to England, London on 24th July 1955, where he continued to work in the building industry and joined The Transport and general Trade Union.
In 1958 he joined his first local branch of the Labour Party in Islington, North London.
It was in 1977 that he moved to Nottingham, where he pursued his interest in politics, by joining his local branch of the labour party. He was elected Councillor in 1992 and 1994 Sheriff of Nottingham.
A Long standing member of the ACFF, he became an Executive Committee member in 1996.
Mrs Louise Zelpha Dyer
Born in East Portland Jamaica, educated at the Belle Castle School. She came to England in 1957 and began training as a nurse in 1963 and gained qualifications as a state registered nurse and a psychiatric Nurse.
From 1966 – 1971 she worked for the North West area Health authority and attained the position of Staff Nurse. She became a Ward Sister at Saxondale Hospital between 1978 – 1988. From 1989 – 1993 she worked at Mapperly Hospital and became Deputy Ward Manager. She is currently employed as a Community Liaison Advisor at the City Hospital, St Francis unit. Over the years she has worked as a volunteer for over 15 different organizations, charities and voluntary groups and has been a member of ACFF since 1985.
Mrs Clarice Spencer – Mckay
Born in Jamaica in 1945. She was educated at Lyndale Girls Boarding School (Quaker) and Highgate Continuation School.
In 1961 she came to England and enrolled at Dale Secondary School, in Sneinton Dale, Nottingham and went onto Peoples College, gaining entry to Teacher Training College. Her first placement was at Jesse Boot School 1963 – 64. She qualified as a teacher at Summerfield Kidderminster Teacher Training College in 1967.
She married in the summer of 1967 and started her first teacher post at City Road School in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
She was promoted between 1971 and 1979, first to Wyndcliffe School in Birmingham, a post of responsibility and a further position at Welford School Handsworth, Birmingham as a school Liaison Teacher, to promote and develop effective links between home and school. She joined the Open University – 1980 – 1983 obtaining a B.A Degree.
1992 was another year of promotion to home school liaison team leader supporting 10 members of staff and working with minority pupils in Birmingham
Windsor LLoyd Miller Cert Ed; B. Ed (Hons); B.A; M Ed
Born October 1938 Kingston Jamaica. He was educated at North St, Seven Day Adventist School -Jamaica College, Kingston in 1950 -1954.
He came in England in May 1954 and within the same year gained a five year apprenticeship with Markham & Company Engineers Limited, Chesterfield, obtaining the ONC.
In 19 -67 he was called up for National Service and served in the Royal Air Force, his appointments were in Cyprus, Indris, Singapore, Peshwar (Pakistan) and Bahrain.
1968 – 1971 He enrolled at Clifton Teacher Training College. His first teaching post was in 1971 at Radcliffe on Trent Junior School. 1975 he became a Community Teacher at Douglas Junior School and then moved to Claremont Boys Comprehensive and furthered his role in 1980 to Head of Humanities. 1982 he was appointed Head of Section 11 at Forest Comprehensive School and 1985 General Inspector for Schools with the responsibility for Multi- Cultural Education 1993. He accepted voluntary redundancy and became a supply teacher in 1994. Since 1995 he has been OFSTED Schools Inspector.
In 1976 he joined the ACFF Centre and organised with Mr Eric Irons. The first black Air Cadets. He arranged countryside camps for black children in Nottingham and was appointed Secretary for the ACFF Executive Committee.
Arabell Smith and the ACFF
Arabell Smith was a founding member of the Association of Caribbean Families and Friends (ACFF) organisation.
During the organisation’s existence, she played a significant role in its development. In her position as Chairperson she was able to engage with other member in the establishment of the Cultural aspect of the organisation bringing to life some of the Jamaican Folklore in songs, poems, dances, oral histories and drama which became part of her fundraising activities.
She also helped to establish the Life Skills programme for adults and children. Older women learned to bake cakes and other goodies, and cook Caribbean dinners which they sold to family and friends. Children and young adults where engaged in cake making, flower arranging and setting the table for meals.
Arabell has a deep passion for the Education Development of her people and became a champion of Black Children’s Education in Nottingham.
Eric G. Irons O.B.E., BH., JP
Born in Spanish Town Jamaica, 1921. He voluntarily enlisted into the R.A.F and came to England in 1944 and served in various parts of the UK, in Egypt and in Malta until his service terminated in 1952.
He had his early education at Portland School in Vere and St Catherine School in Spanish Town. In England he furthered his formal education through the Forces Education Facilities and the Nottingham University.
Nanny of the Maroons
Nanny was a leader of the Maroons at the beginning of the 18th century. She was known by both the Maroons and the British settlers as an outstanding military leader who became, in her lifetime and after, a symbol of unity and strength for her people during times of crisis. She was particularly important to them in the fierce fight with the British during the First Maroons War from 1720 to 1739.
Although she has been immortalised in songs and legends, certain facts about Nanny (or Granny Nanny, as she was affectionately known) have also been documented.
Both legends and documents refer to her as having exceptional leadership qualities. She was a small, wiry woman with piercing eyes. Her influence over the Maroons was so strong that it seemed to be supernatural and was said to be connected to her powers of obeah. She was particularly skilled in organising the guerrilla warfare carried out by the Eastern Maroons to keep away the British Troops who attempted to penetrate the mountains to overpower them.
Her cleverness in planning guerrilla warfare confused the British and their accounts of the fights reflect the surprise and fear which the Maroons traps caused among them. Besides inspiring her people to ward off troops nanny was also a type of chieftainess or wise women of the village who passed down legends and who encouraged the continuation of customs, music and songs that had come with the people from Africa and that instilled in tme confidence and pride.
Her spirit of freedom was so great that in 1739, when Quao signed the Treaty (the first was signed by Cudjoe for the Leeward Maroons a few months earlier) with the British, it is reported that Nanny was very angry and in disagreement with the principle pf peace with the British which she knew meant another subjugation.
There are many legends about Nanny and among the Maroons. Some even claim that there were several women who were leaders of Maroons during this period of history. But in all the legends and documents refer to Nanny of the First Maroon War as the most outstanding of them all, leading her people with courage and inspiring them to struggle to maintain that spirit of freedom that life of independence which was their rightful inheritance.
Her town was well protected by the steep mountainsides, and above all the hidden whirlpool which the Maroons called ‘Nanny’s Pot’, for they believed it would suck in any intruder who tried to pass. Still, many did find their way to Nanny’s Town. These slaves from the estates on the plain, who were inspired by the daring of the Maroons to escape from slavery and join the free black men in the hills. Trusting in their fighting skill and also in Nanny’s “obeah” fetish, the Maroons believed they were invincible.
But in 1734 a Captain Stoddart, discovered one of the Maroons’ hidden paths and was able to ambush them. Using guns with which he has secretly surrounded the town, Stoddart’s attack was devastating. Nanny and many of her men were killed and Nanny’s Town was destroyed.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to travel to Jamaica on October 12th 1492. The island called by the inhabitants Guanahnai it was taken into possession by Columbus in the name of the King and Queen of Spain and Christened in San Salvador. From the Bahamas Columbus proceeded to Cuba and Hispaniola.
European acquaintance with the Caribbean Islands led to the development of plantations for the growing of spices and sugarcane etc. This was done through the use of slave labour. These slaves were African people taken by force, some of whom escaped, later to become The Maroons.
The Maroons fled to the mountains to escape where they led a subsistence existence based upon traditional African values. They become Cimaroones but later this name was changed to The Maroons in the British Islands. Local companies rancheadores were formed within the island in order to hunt down these fugitive slaves.
Rewards were given for information leading to the capture of the Maroons. The death penalty was sustained in 1574 for mulattos or Caribbean’s encouraging slaves to rebel when runaways were caught they received lashes, for long periods of absence, punishment by hanging.
Churches joined the state and the Inquisition, an attempt to escape from slavery was seen as rejecting the Christian faith, in many cases runaways were burnt alive.
Within a year of arrival the English in the Island, Major-General Robert Sedgewick, one of the Commissioners, predicted that the Maroons would become ‘a thorn in the sides of the English’. His words were to prove true. As the Island became more settled and plantations spread further island, it became easier for the Maroons to travel through the hills by night, set fire to the fields and steal stock and cattle. Slaves who has escaped from new plantations grew in number giving them greater confidence. In 1663 there was an offer made of land and total freedom in every Maroon who surrendered, the offer was ignored. The failure to negotiate with the Maroons was to result in 76 years of irregular warfare.
The original Maroons settled chiefly in the Eats and North parts of the island. In 1690, the slaves in Clarendon, consisted mainly of Coromantes and extremely brave and warlike people from Gold Coast, they rebelled and escaped into the woods where they soon established themselves. They later joined the forces with the Maroons under the able leadership of one of their number named Cudjoe. They started a campaign of robbery and murder known in history as the First Maroon War.
The Maroon concentrated on the northern slopes of the Blue Mountain and in the forest interior, including later and almost impenetrable Cockpit Country, the Maroons developed a unique form of warfare which confused most of the parties sent against them. The Maroons were skilled warriors, professionals in woodcrafts and familiar with untacked forests, they tried to avoid open fight, but disguised from head to foot with leaves and made ingenious plans preferred to attack from ambush. The surprise of these attacks, plus the precise shooting of the Maroons often brought them victory, but if pressed they rarely stood, instead they took cover of the woods, only to reform, planning better strategies for another ambush.
Source: History of Jamaica by Clinton V. Black, 1983 Colins.
Born in the Parish of Trelawny in Jamaica, where she spent most of her childhood, then cam to England in 1968.
Her formal education included attendance at Margaret Glen-Bott, Wollaton Park from 1968 – 1971.
She furthered her education at the Royal Society of Arts in various subjects, administration and Management studies.
She studied Social Science with the Open University, from which she obtained a BA degree and later took up the engagement of Private, Public and Voluntary Sector. Her involvement in local government includes Education, Finance and Equal opportunities.
Her current involvement extend to the representative of the Lenton/Park Ward of Nottingham South and Byron Ward in Nottingham North, as a local Councillor since 1989.
Her work with the voluntary Sector began in the early eighties. She continues to work, to develop and maintain opportunities for the African and Caribbean communities, through direct work serving on various organisations, such as ACNA, secretary for Tun Tum Housing Nottingham District Council and Nottingham Outworkers Support Group.
Other engagements are Project Co-ordinator for the first African-Caribbean Women’s Training Project, based in St Anns, Nottinghamshire since 1993. This offers education training and employment opportunities to long term unemployed residents.
Her further appointments are that of school Governor at two local junior schools in the county since 1984, at Mellows Primary School in 1992 and a member of the College Corporation F.E since 1994.
She is Chair Lady for Nottingham County Council Women’s consultative panel from 1990-1995 and Vice Chair Lady of Equal Opportunities Committee 1990 – 1994.
Mr Bartley and Una May
Mr Bartley was born in Jamaica, Manchester in 1934 and his wife Una May was born in 1939 in St Catherine Jamaica.
Educated at Frankfield School in Manchester he went on to a fiver year apprenticeship course in Mechanical Engineering.
He came to England, London in the late 50’s and lived there for six months before moving to Nottingham, where he continued with his professional career in mechanics at Chilwell. After two years went on to work at Courtalds Derby.
Mr Bartley met and married his wife in the 60’s. She is currently working at Nottingham University.
They are involved in community work and have been foster parents for 17 years, fostering over 22 children. Mrs Bartley also gives aid to Jamaica by sending clothing to Spanish Town and St Catherine’s Hospitals.
They have both been long standing members of the ACFF and are founder members of Association of Caribbean Credit Union, which was formed in 60’s to later develop into a housing association (Alvadean Properties Limited) which he holds the post of Director and Chairman.
He and his wife became member of ACNA in 1989 and joined the Jamaican Friendship Society in 1994.
She came to England in June 1953 and worked as a machinist.
It was in the 50’s that she met Mr Eric Ions and Miss Dorothy Wood. They joined together to greet West Indians who were arriving in England for the first time, helping them to settle into the community. They also arranged group meetings at Castle Gate.
She once mentioned to Mr Eric Ions that she would like to be involved in voluntary work. He encouraged her. She started by working at Magdella children’s home one day a week on her days of work.
Later she worked at Mapperly Hospital for sixteen years as a coffee bar assistant, one Saturday of each month and then after retiring joined the voluntary sector, at the Bridgeway Centre Lunch club for the over 60’s. It was from here that she realised the need for a group for elderly black people in the Meadows. With help from various people the founder of the Black Luncheon club managed to acquire a room at Queens Walk Community Centre. After ten years she still continues to run both groups, finding it rewarding meeting interesting people both in the group and others who help her.
- Ave Gordon the first captain of the West Indian Caribbean Cricket Club addressing the Annual Cricket Dinner and prize giving in 1952
CommonWealth Unity Week 1963
His Excellency Sir Lawrence Lindo, High commissioner of Jamaica, address the audience for the opening of the commonwealth exhibition. – Photograph by kind permission COI
- Sir Lawrence Lindo on his retirement, as High Commissioner of Jamaica, being presented with a replica of Robin Hood. Present was the Lord Mayor of Nottingham.
Pioneer of Black Led Churches
By the end of 1995 only a few African and West Indians had settled in Nottingham. These were mainly males, who served in the Second World War most of whom married local girls.
In 1956 the demand for workers increased within the area so the number of Jamaicans multiplied. Many Christians experienced discomfort, when they attended established churches in the county.
There was one exceptional church. The Assembly of God Pentecostal church at the corner of Woodborough and Mansfield Road, where African Caribbean worshippers were welcomed. In October 1957 the first black-led church was formed, this was The New Testament Church of God. Later they worshipped at The Social and Sports Club in Alfred Street, which later became the West Indian Nationals Association. Today the church has its own premises on Carlton Road.
Rock and Reggae Festival
Starting out as the Rock Against Racism festival in 1977, it was known as the Hyson Green Festival for a few years before renamed as Rock & Reggae. This was a very popular free festival on the Forest Recreation Ground during the 1980s which increasingly attracted a multi-cultural audience.
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