‘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
Black and Asian Londoner’s