In the Notting Hill of the early 70s we rediscover Moses Aloetta, last seen twenty years before in Selvon’s masterpiece, The Lonely Londoners. In the fifties, Moses was a reluctant “welfare officer” for new arrivals from the islands, grumbling as he helped people find their feet in the Mother Country. Now he’s installed as the tin-pot monarch of a tumble-down terraced house in Shepherd’s Bush.

There is something of the shipwrecked mariner about Moses, washed up on a cold and lonely shore, making do with … More

Sitting in his cramped basement room in Brixton, Battersby dreams of money, women, a T-bone steak – and a place to call his own. So he and a group of friends decide to save up and buy a house together. But amid grasping landlords, the temptations of spending money and the less-than-welcoming attitude of the Mother Country, can this motley group of hustlers and schemers, Trinidadians and Jamaicans, men and women make their dreams a reality?

‘Selvon’s meticulously observed narratives of displaced Londoners’ lives created a template for how to write about migrant, and post-migrant, London … More

Orange Street has a mystical place in Reggae’s history. Set in the heart of downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Even to this day it stands somehow locked in time & space. The beat of the music ever changing & evolving. As politics, religion even the weather effect its course one thing remains a constant, Orange Street is central to the islands musical story. The Ska era of Jamaica’s sound time has told us can be dated from around 1962 to late 1966. The instigators being the big three producers of this period, Clement Coxonne Dodd, Prince Buster & Duke Reid.

The Rocksteady sound which ran a shorter more intense race between 1966 to 1968 would be Duke Reid’s to command.. … More

Both devastating & funny, The Lonely Londoners is an unforgettable account of immigrant experience – & one of the great 20th-century London novels. At Waterloo Station, hopeful new arrivals from the West Indies step off the boat train, ready to start afresh in 1950s London. There, homesick Moses Aloetta, who has already lived in the city for years, meets Henry ‘Sir Galahad’ Oliver & shows him the ropes. In this strange, cold & foggy city where the natives can be less than friendly at the sight of a black face, has Galahad met his Waterloo?

But the irrepressible newcomer cannot be cast down. He and all the other lonely new Londoners – from shiftless Cap … More

Homecoming draws on over a hundred first-hand interviews, archival recordings & memoirs by the women & men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s& the early 1960s. In their own words, we witness the transition from the optimism of the first post-war arrivals to the race riots of the late 1950s. We hear from nurses in Manchester; bus drivers in Bristol; seamstresses in Birmingham; teachers in Croydon; dockers in Cardiff; inter-racial lovers in High Wycombe, & Carnival Queens in Leeds.

These are stories of hope and regret, of triumphs and challenges, brimming with humour, anger and wisdom. Together, they reveal … More

The UK government proudly calls the aim of its immigration policy to be the creation of a “hostile environment,” while refugees drown in the Mediterranean & Britain votes to leave the EU against claims that “swarms”of migrants are entering Britain. Meanwhile, study after study confirms that immigration is not damaging the UK’s economy, nor putting a strain on public services, but immigration is blamed for all of Britain’s ills. Yet concerns about immigration are deemed “legitimate” across the political spectrum, with few exceptions.

Through interviews with leading policy-makers, asylum seekers, and immigration lawyers, Goodfellow illuminates the dark underbelly of contemporary immigration policies. A … More

Possibly the definitive fictional account of the experiences of the Empire Windrush generation, it was recently selected by the BBC as one of its ‘100 Novels That Shaped Our World’. It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh’s neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn’t know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all..

What else can she do? Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to … More

Born OTD in 1922, Trinidadian calypsonian, Aldwyn Roberts, AKA Lord Kitchener. He toured Jamaica for six months in 1947-8 with Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore) and Lord Woodbine (Harold Philips) before they took passage on the Empire Windrush to England in 1948. Upon his arrival, Kitchener performed the specially-written song “London Is the Place for Me”.

Combining factual biography with the imaginative structure and investment in the language of the novel, Anthony Joseph fully engages with … More

An oral history of the UK’s soundsystem culture, featuring interviews with Dubmaster Dennis Bovell, Skream, Youth, Norman Jay, Adrian Sherwood, Mala, & others. In the years following the arrival of the Windrush generation, the UK’s soundsystem culture would become the most important influence on contemporary pop music since rock n roll. Pumped through towering, home-built speakers, often directly onto the thronged streets of events like the Notting Hill Carnival, the pulsating bass lines of reggae, dub, rave, jungle, trip hop, dubstep, & grime have shaped the worlds of several generations of British youth culture but have often been overlooked by historians obsessed with swinging London, punk, & Britpop.

This oral history, consisting of new interviews conducted by respected dance music writer Joe Muggs, and accompanied by dramatic portraits … More

When Colin Grant was growing up in Luton in the 1960s, he learned not to ask his Jamaican parents why they had emigrated to Britain. ‘We’re here because we’re here,’ his father would say. ‘You have some place else to go?’ But now, 70 years after the arrival of ships such as the Windrush, this generation of pioneers are ready to tell their stories. Homecoming draws on over a 100 first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s.

In their own words, we witness the transition from the optimism of the first post-war arrivals to the race riots … More