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  The Black and Asian Londoners Project
‘Black and Asian Londoners: Presence and Background (BAL) was a major research project at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), funded by the British Library Partnership Co-operation Programme looking mainly at Anglican Baptism Registers. For two years researchers uncovered fascinating evidence of the Black and Asian presence in London, covering over three centuries. The earliest entry found in the registers we looked at was from 1597; the latest was from 1856.

Over 1,000 Anglican Parish Baptism were searched for entries of Black and Asian people, identified specifically as being of Asian or African origin. The results have thrown up exciting insights into Black and Asian History in the capital.  List of Boroughs and Corresponding Parishes

Some entries are little more than a name and a brief note, but others tell compelling stories - an orphan child rescued from the revolution in San Domingo, later to become Haiti; an African King; sailors of the Napoleonic wars aboard ships such as Volontaire and Blenheim, and people working as domestic servants. The individuals found can only be representative of some Black and Asian Londoners, but those individuals throw light on the lives and experiences of all.

The BAL project has produced a highly important contribution to the history of cultural diversity in the capital. The amazing research potential in archives for all those interested in their own rich local, personal and community histories is clearly shown through BAL. The hidden histories found through this research offer exciting and enriching stories which will help recreate the world of our ancestors and bring us closer to them.

Black and Asian Londoner’s Search Page

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