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Black and Asian History

Black and Asian History at Tameside Local Studies & Archives Unit

Black and Asian communities have played an important role in the history of Robert Rachid Stanley - Stalybridge's first muslim mayorTameside.

Black and Asian History Books

We collect general books on the history of Black and Asian people in Britain and any books which relate specifically to Black and Asian history in the towns of Tameside or the Manchester area. If you know of any important title not held here, please tell us and we will consider adding it to our stock (if it is in print). These books are shelved at L301.4. We also hold creative works including video documentaries and sound which were recordings produced by Asian Community Media based in Hyde.

We have reports and newsletters from local organisations such as Tameside Council for Racial Equality and Tameside M.B.C. Equal Opportunities Unit. These are also shelved at L301.4.

We have taken the journal Black and Asian Studies Association Newsletter since 1992. We have taken The Indiaman from issue 29 (2003) - issue 42 (2006).

We hold a collection of material relating to the Cotton Famine of the early 1860's. This was thought to be linked to the American Civil War, so there is some material relating to attitudes to slavery in Lancashire.

Archive Material

At present we hold very little material relating to Asian organisations, families and businesses in the Tameside area and what we do hold is often subject to restrictions on use, so is not listed here.

We would be very happy to take any records of this type to improve our coverage of the very important changes which have taken place in the recent past. We can take records on permanent loan so that depositors retain ownership and public access to records can be restricted until they are, say, 30 or 100 years old.

Records held include:-

  • DD289 - documents relating to Vinod Chauhan and his campaign against deportation
  • TREC - records and printed material from Tameside Council for Racial Equality including nationally published but hard to find pamphlet literature. 

Some more general sources will provide information about Asian history:-

  • a Citizenship Lesson Plan for Key Stage 3 and 4 using the Vinod Chauhan Collection is available;
  • records of Tameside M.B.C. and previous local authorities;
  • records of the Citizens Advice Bureaux (closed for fifty years);
  • local newspapers - we have back files of the different editions of the local paper back to 1855.

Other records which may give a different perspective on Black and Asian history are the records of the Manchester Regiment which date from 1758. The Regiment and its predecessors served in served in the American War of Independence, New Zealand War of 1844, Crimean War, Boer War, both World Wars and the Korean War. In the 18th century, many ex- or escaped slaves in Britain joined the navy and army - although the archives have little information on ordinary soldiers. Photographs from the regiment can be seen at The Manchester Regiment Image Archive Link to External Website.

Photographs

We hold a large photographic archive for the towns of Tameside, but most date from before the 1960s. Some are useful in showing areas before large scale Asian immigration. For example: there is a series of photographs of Penny Meadow before the concentration of Asian shops in the area. Some family photographs are also included. The photograph database can be searched online at Tameside Image Archive.

See also Tameside Oral History Project (below).

We also have small collections of more relevant material such as a series of slides taken in mills and other works in the 1960s and early 1970s showing Asian workers.

Oral History

In 2005 we ran an HLF funded project to record the memories of people who came toCover of the book 'Here to stay' Tameside from the Indian sub-continent in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The result is over 150 tape recorded interviews in various languages, but all transcribed in English. The tapes are in the archive collection TOHP and can be consulted at the Local Studies and Archives Centre. Photographs were also collected and can be seen on the  - Tameside Image Archive (the keyword "minority" will bring up the whole collection, but they can also be searched using specific words and names). An exhibition (see below) and a book, Here to Stay, were also produced. They give a small flavour of the collection with extracts from a selection of the tapes and photographs. The book can be ordered online by going to publications for sale. Watch a short programme about the project.

We have a few other tapes in our oral history collection which relate to the experiences of migrants to this area. Some were the result of the Tameside Family History Award of 1995 when we appealed for interviews and transcripts with people who had come to Tameside from other countries. The first prize was won by Stella Pavasovic and second prize was shared between Manibel Patel and June Hewis.

Ephemera

We collect material designed to be thrown away after a short life such as posters, leaflets and short runs of community organisations' newsletters. Relevant material of this type is stored in files at L301.4. We are keen to add to this collections - especially newsletters.

Recovering Black and Asian History

We provide a file in the Local Studies Library for researchers to note references to Black and Asian people when they come across them in the course of their studies. We hope this will eventually become a useful source in itself.

Exhibitions

We have created an exhibition - Tameside Links - which looks at Tameside's links with countries that are or have been part of the Commonwealth. As well as highlighting some early Black and Irish history it also features the fascinating photograph albums of Dugald Wilson's 1909 trip around the world. This exhibition (consisting of 6 large boards) is available for loan.

We have also inherited the Asian Memories Exhibition that was created from the Everybody's Reading Project for Black History Month 2002. This unique photograph collection also records Asian memories of moving to Tameside and how life used to be in their homelands. It has 11 x A3 and 2 x A4 laminates.

We have a small exhibition from the Tameside Family History Award 1995 which includes photographs from the collections of the winners who came to Tameside from other countries after the Second World War. The exhibition describes life in India , Singapore and Yugoslavia , their journeys to England and their reactions to the new life here (12 small boards)

Here to stay consists of about 45 laminated photographs, ephemera and tape extracts relating to our HLF funded Oral History Project run in 2005. It includes family photographs from the interviewees and material about the running of the Project.

Welcome to Hyde consists of six large boards illustrating the lives of newcomers to Hyde from a Black servant to the Hyde family in the 18th century, through the Irish and Italians to the Ugandan Asians expelled by Idi Amin in the 1970s and the Bangladeshis who form a large community today. The display includes the Meshia ice cream family and the first Catholic Mayor in Cheshire, Luke Kenny, using photographs, documents, news cuttings, advertisements, printed extracts from oral history interviews.


All these exhibitions can be borrowed for display at community venues or schools.

Some Useful Websites

Some early references to Black & Asian people in our area:

An extract from John Ross Coulthart's: A Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Town of Ashton-u-Lyne. 1844 on p.36 reads: A "woolly-haired negro, who, the police officer with me said, had been driven from the streets a few hours before for ballad singing" - he was staying in a common lodging house in Duncan Street, Ashton, visited by J. R. Coulthart in 1844.

Black people who settled in England were barred from the usual jobs and trades, so the achievement of Edward T. Nelson - a black barrister from British Guiana who successfully defended Cornelius Howard against the accusation of murdering George Harry Storrs of Gorse Hall in 1909, is a significant part of Tameside's history.

The Hyde Clarke family of Hyde had associations with Jamaica. George Hyde Clarke lived with Sophia Astley for many years there.

Their son - Captain Hyde John Clarke, J. P., a prominent member of the community - had plans for sugar and bone mills drawn up about 1840.

Arthur Wharton, the world's first black professional footballer, 100 yards world record holder and professional cricketer, was born in West Africa. He played for the Stalybridge Rovers from 1896-1901.

General Information

Advance booking is necessary for microfilm-readers. Please note that archives will not be produced within thirty minutes of closing time and that all archives must be returned fifteen minutes before closing time.

Revised 08/08/2012.


Important: Please include your name and postal address when you send us a message as this will help us provide a full response to your enquiry.

Contact Information
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Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Central Library
Old Street
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL6 7SG
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 4242
Contact by Fax
0161 342 4245

Page last updated: 28 November 2012