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Sources for Black and Asian History

Worcestershire Record Office is supporting the work of the Link to external website Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA) by trying to map the historical presence of ethnic minorities in Britain. There has been a Black presence here in Worcestershire since the 17th Century, although it may not always be obvious.

Below are some examples from the archives.  Most of these are available as a larger image if you click on them:

1698 - Baptism of John Langley, a Niger of Jameca

John Langley Baptism documentEntry in the parish registers for Norton and Lenchwick. 'John Langley a Niger of Jameca about 30 years of age was baptised the 6th day of January 1698'.

We do not know why John was here in Worcestershire, but perhaps he was a servant of a local family, or accompanied someone back from the Caribbean when they visited sugar plantations.
Ref: x850 Norton and Lenchwick

1788-1790 - A Black Family at All Saints and St Andrews, Worcester

Three entries for a family, described as Negroes, at churches in Worcester:

Susanna Barret baptism document 
April 1788
Baptism at All Saints of 'Susanna, daughter of Lashington Barret Drummer of the 29th and Susan his wife: all three Negroes'.

Burial document for Lashington Barrett
9 September 1788
Burial at St Andrews of 'Lashington Barrett Drummer of the 29th of foot, a Negroe'.

Burial document for Susanna Barrett
11 February 1790
Burial at All Saints of Susanna, daughter of late Lashington Barret Drummer and Susanna his Wife Negroes. P [pauper].


Lashington Barret was a drummer in the 29th Regiment of Foot, which in 1782 had become the Worcestershire Regiment. Between 1759 and 1843 there were at least 40 Black drummers who had served in the 29th, most recruited whilst the regiment was stationed in the West Indies, America or Canada. Barrett is listed as being in the Regiment by 1765, and came to Worcester when the 29th Regiment were stationed here in 1787.

Some of the above information was provided by the Link to external website Worcestershire Regiment Museum.

1713 - Peter Kuffey, Worcester

Baptism document for Peter Kuffey 

Baptism at St Johns 29 October 1713, 'Peter Kuffey, a Black, Ellison's servant'


Burial document for Peter Kuffey

Burial at St Johns 17 November 1713.


12 April 1781 Death of Thomas Otempora at Upper Arley

A report in the Berrows Worcester Journal for 12 April 1781 mentions the death of Thomas Otempora.

A report in the Berrows Worcester Journal for 12 April 1781 '..died at Lord Valentin's, at Upper Arley, age upon 56, Thomas Otempora (called Othello), a native of America, from African parents'.
Ref: x989.9:695.

1840 Black child found in package of raw sugar.

Black child found in package of raw sugar reportA report in the Worcester Herald, Saturday 25th April 1840.
Ref: 110 BA1:738/489.

1853 The 'Horrors of Slavery'

Poster advertising a lecture to be given in Stourbridge on the horrors of slaveryPoster advertising a lecture to be given in Stourbridge on the horrors of slavery.

Throughout the campaign to abolish slavery, public meetings were held up and down the country to persuade public opinion. Although Slavery had been abolished in the British Empire by this time, it still existed in America. On this occasion, a former slave, Mr J Watkins, gave the talk.

The poster is part of a large group of posters, pamphlets and other ephemera collected by Alderman Palfrey. Many are on the Stourbridge area and give an insight into life in the area at that time.
Ref: b899:31, BA3762, parcel 10a, vol 5.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Photo of Samuel Coleridge-TaylorColeridge-Taylor (1875-1912) wrote and conducted a piece for the 1898 Three Choirs Festival on the recommendation of Sir Edward Elgar, and his Orchestral Ballade in A Minor was very well received. Elgar wrote that he was, 'Far away the cleverest fellow amongst the young men'. Coleridge-Taylor returned to conduct his own compositions in 1899, 1900 and 1903.

Coleridge-Taylor was born in Holborn, the son of a Sierra Leone Doctor and an English mother. His music mixed black traditional music with concert music. He suffered from racial prejudice both in Great Britain and when he visited America, and he was a supporter of the Black people around the world. He ran workshops for Black musicians and composers, and was seen as a role model for them. Whilst in America, he was invited to the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Ref: 899:1283, BA13,008

1933 Nawab of Pataudi scores 231 not out for Worcestershire.


Newspaper report from Berrow's Worcester Journal, 12 August 1933

Sports scorecardNewspaper report from Berrow's Worcester JournalThe Nawab of Pataudi scored four double centuries for Worcestershire, three of them in 1933. This was his highest score, as he helped the county to a draw after they were forced to follow on by Essex at New Road.

Iftiqar Ali Khan, the Nawab of pataudi, was born in New Delhi, India, in 1910. He played with distinction for Worcestershire between 1932-1938. He was an outstanding batsman for the county, and he is one of the few players, along with Graeme Hick, to have a career average of over fifty for Worcestershire. He played three tests for England, and later captained India.


1940s Black troops queuing for food in the YMCA canteen

A photograph showing troops queuing in the YMCA canteen in St Helen's Church, Worcester.

Black troops queuing for food in the YMCA canteenIf you come across references to Black and Asian people in our collections, please let a member of staff know so that it can be noted. Some of the above references were discovered by members of the public whilst researching their own projects.

Have you got any material that can help tell the story of Black and Asian people in Worcestershire? We would love to talk to you to help cover this important part of the country's heritage.

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This page was last reviewed 15 May 2013 at 20:54.
The page is next due for review 11 November 2014.