Thursday, August 2, 2012

London Calling - Part V - Brixton

There's no line between my research and my family history, and visiting Brixton was no exception.  This is where my immigrant story began in the 1950s.

If you watched the Opening Ceremony, you might have noticed a short blip of a bunch of Black men with suitcases with a giant replica ship behind them.  The ship was the Empire Windrush, and the group of Black men were the first West Indian (Jamaican) emigrants in Britain in 1948.  Not only did they, and the tens of thousands of West Indians that came in the decades after them, help rebuild post-War Britain, the Ceremony in 2012 cemented and showed to the world that they are a part of British history and its social fabric. 

It's a shame that Canada didn't set the precedent when they had the chance in Vancouver.

My Father and my family were a part of this history.  Welcome to Brixton.

Windrush Square

Ackerman Road - Where the Taylors lived.
What their house (now demolished) would have looked like. 
The site of their house.

Many West Indians were recruited in the Caribbean (including my Dad) to work for London Transport.  The buses are new, but these are the same Brixton streets that they would've suffered verbal and physical abuse from British Whites.  I got a chance to hear some of the stories from my Aunt who was one of the first female conductors (conductress) that came in 1956.
And what is a Black neighbourhood without a whole bunch of hair product shops.  Had three in a row all selling the same stuff on a street off of Electric Avenue (yup, the same one Eddy Grant sang about).  And all three had Asians selling weaves and Black hair products.  I've got a real problem with that.

Sidenote: Asians in the UK are what we in Canada call Brown people - Asians are Orientals, and Brown people are Banglasdeshi, but not Indian, because Indians are just Indian.  Racialized identity is fascinating.  And Brazilians are supposedly terrorists.  I plan on getting more into British White identity, specifically Chavs.  Check this link here about race issues in Britain especially following the riots.


  1. It has been enjoyable for me to read your blog whilst your here in the UK. Great pics and well documented!

  2. Stephanie BangarthAugust 5, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Wonderful! Can't wait to hear and read more about this.