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Black, Asian and minority ethnic history

This recently updated source guide was originally compiled by the Archive Service in 2002 to assist the CASBAH Project in building a national database of sources which would help to develop a better picture of the diversity of British history. Contributors included users of the Archive Service as well as staff. 

This is a "work in progress", and we welcome new contributions from our readers in order to make this guide more comprehensive.  Please inform staff in the reading room, or email staffordshire.record.office@staffordshire.gov.uk

Please note: The source guide below includes direct quotations from the original documents which reflect the usage of language in past social and political contexts. The guide contains images of selected documents.

Guide to Sources

Slavery and the Movement for its Abolition

Deed of sale of "Negroe and other slaves" in the island of Jamaica, 1761.
Because of the poor punctuation in the two lists of slaves within the document it is impossible to be absolutely certain exactly how many slaves were being sold, but it was approximately 62, including 9 children sold with their respective mothers.
Staffordshire Record Office, D1798/663/190

Account book of the Canaan estate, (probably Jamaica), 1765-1768, 1773-1781
Typically, the accounts show income from the sale of produce, including sugar, rum, molasses, mahogany, other timber products and livestock; and expenses in the form of wages to employees, "hire of Negroes", purchase of mules, fencing, provisions, work by contractors such as blacksmiths and plumbers, and payment of taxes.
Staffordshire Record Office, D1798/663/191

Extract re rebellion by slaves 1764

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

List of the Vessels arrived at and sailed from James Fort (now Banjul) in the River Gambia in the year 1764
Includes date arrived, name, master's name, tonnage, home port, port of departure, number of slaves come for, date of sailing, where bound, number of slaves taken, other notes.
The extract above notes a slave rebellion on board the "Hope", a ship based in the Gambia, apparently supplying slaves to the Portuguese colony of Bissau.  The ship was beached and most of the slaves managed to escape their captors.
Staffordshire Record Office, D(W)1778/V/251

Extract re slaves at James Fort Gambia

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

List of the Officers, Soldiers and Castle Slaves belonging to James Fort (now Banjul) in the River Gambia February 19 1766
Staffordshire Record Office, D(W)1778/V/259

Xerox copy of a letter concerning the sale of slaves, Antigua, 1790
Staffordshire Record Office, 1449 pp. 11-15

Petition to the Sheriff of Staffordshire for the abolition of slavery in Africa, signed by Staffordshire gentry, 1 Feb 1792
Staffordshire Record Office, D260/M/F/4/8 pp.50-53

Deeds relating to a plantation of 450 acres called St. John's, island of St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), including slaves, 1796-1813
Staffordshire Record Office, D3211/91

Notice of meeting for abolition 1826

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Notice by the Sheriff to the noblemen, gentlemen, clergy and freeholders of Staffordshire to attend a meeting for the gradual abolition of slavery in the British dominions, following a petition (petitioners' names listed), 1826
Staffordshire Record Office, D641/5/P(c)/3/2/6

Emancipation compensation certificate, Barbados, between 1808 and 1836
Staffordshire Record Office, D615/E(L)/30/100

Papers of Dr John Rhodes Hulme, Special Magistrate in the parish of Hanover, Jamaica, 1834-1838, under the Abolition of Slavery Act, 1833
Staffordshire Record Office, D538/C/16/1-11




©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

"The Negro : an Historical Poem in the Shape of Dialogue Describing the Unchristian and Wicked Principle and Practices of Slavery as Exhibited Through Different Periods of Time in Africa and the West Indies" by Hamlet Wood, 30 Mar 1833.  Published by R Timmis, Burslem, Staffordshire, 1833.
The extracts shown above are the title page and the first page of the preface, in which the author sets out the convictions that led him to write the poem.
William Salt Library, B9 WOO


Francis Barber
Francis Barber was a servant to Dr Samuel Johnson, and beneficiary under his will

Minute book of the Board of Management of the Staffordshire General Infirmary, Stafford, 1795-1803 : entry relating to the admittance of Francis Barber, 12 Dec 1800
Staffordshire Record Office, D685/2/6

Burial of Francis Barber Stafford 1801

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Register of baptisms and burials, Stafford St Mary, burial : "28 January 1801 Francis Barber, servant to Dr Johnson"
Staffordshire Record Office, F1399/4

Account of the life of Francis Barber
William Salt Library, 370/5 p305

Cyrus Hamilton and Louisa Hamilton, his daughter

Letters concerning a claim made on Lord Hatherton by Louisa Hamilton, 1863-1872
Staffordshire Record Office, D260/M/F/5/34

Register of baptisms and burials, Penkridge St Michael and All Angels, baptism : "7 Nov 1779 Cyrus Hamiltoner an African negroe"
Staffordshire Record Office, F1354/1/3

George Edalji
George Edalji was a Birmingham solicitor, and the son of Rev. Shapurji Edalji, Anglican vicar of Great Wyrley, and Charlotte Stoneham.  Complaints were made to the Staffordshire Police by the Shapurji family concerning a series of threatening letters that they received.  Soon afterwards, in 1903, George Edalji was convicted of a series of horse maimings in the locality, but was released in 1906 after a successful appeal, both the threatening letters and horse maimings having continued whilst he was imprisoned.  Following his release the case for a pardon was taken up by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Report concerning Edalji case

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Report by the Chief Constable concerning Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's allegations re the Edalji case, 1907.  First page of report shown above.
Staffordshire Record Office, C/PC/1/1/4

Letter re pardon of George Edalji, nd
Staffordshire Record Office, Q/SPj/2/7

Police search for evidence in the horse maimings case

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Album of photographs re horse maiming case, nd
The image shown above is of police searching a field for evidence (93/8).
Staffordshire Record Office, 93/1-13

Portrait of George Edalji (glass negative), nd
Staffordshire Record Office, D1363/9029-30

Copy order re Attorney General v Edalji and others, 1907
Staffordshire Record Office, D3749/7/2


Letter re Charlie 1894

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Letters from Henry Wright to Mr Grant re Charlie, former inhabitant of St Thomas, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), and former valet/ship's steward to the 3rd Duke of Sutherland, 28 Jun and 13 Jul 1894
Staffordshire Record Office, D593/K/1/7/47

Parish Poor Law Papers

Parish of Berkswich : accounts of the overseers of the poor
The workhouse is Baswich parish workhouse or House of Industry, built about 1802. Dr Hawthorn was the parish doctor. We have no evidence of the man's name, only that he was obviously well cared for in the workhouse until he recovered.

"1816 October 29 : At a Vestry Meeting held this Day at the house of Mr Allen at Radford Bridge… it was resolved that…the Overseers wait upon Mr Chetwynd & consult with him about Removing the Black who is now in the Workhouse, Mr Hawthorn having pronounced him out of danger & capable of being removed."

Medical expenses of a blak man in the Baswich workhouse 1817

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

"1817 January 28 : Dr Hawthorn's Bill for Attending a Black £4-2s-3d
[same date] : Expences of the Black man in the Workhouse £1-14s-0d"
Staffordshire Record Office, D114/A/PO/3

Parish Register Entries

Baptism of Laurence Ashley 1668

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Ashley St John the Baptist general register, burial : 6 April 1668 "Sepultus fuit Laurentius Ignoti cognominis, natione Affricanus, p[re]fessione Christianus, Carolus Domino Gerard defuncto servus"
[Translation : Laurence, surname unknown, of the African nation, of the Christian faith, slave/servant of Charles, Lord Gerard, deceased, was buried]
Staffordshire Record Office, F3173/1/1

Barlaston St John the Baptist general register, baptism : 23 Aug 1675 "Peter Blackman, the blackamore"
Staffordshire Record Office, F3538/1/1

Baptism of John Tipton 1705

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Tipton St Martin general register, baptism : 29 July 1705 "John, an Ethyopian boy, page to the Lady Pye"
Staffordshire Record Office, F3949/1/3

Baptism of Thomas and Daniel Timmins Pattingham 1727

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Pattingham St Chad general register, baptisms : 8 December 1727 "Thomas and Daniel sons of Thomas Timmins forriner and Mary his wife"
Burial : 17 December 1727 "Daniel son of Thomas Timmins, forriner"
Staffordshire Record Office, F3451/1/1

Baptism of a drummers child Tamworth 1741

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Tamworth St Editha general register, burial : 14 March 1741 "a Drummer's child, a Black in Tam[worth]"
Staffordshire Record Office, F3773/1/4

Baptism of William Hill Rocester 1776

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Rocester St Michael baptism register : 13 October 1776 "William Hill a Black-a-moor, brought from Virginia and aged 22 years"
Staffordshire Record Office, F925/1/2

Baptism of John Towels Wolverhampton 1785

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Wolverhampton St Peter baptism register : 25 Jan 1785 "John Towels, a Negro-Man"
Staffordshire Record Office, F1157/1/1/5

Baptism of Tobias London Penkridge 1787

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Penkridge St Michael and All Angels baptism and burial register, burial : 4 Mar 1787 "Tobias London a Negro - 56 years, servant to the family of Rev James Stafford"
Staffordshire Record Office, F1354/1/3

Burial of a Black man Newcastle 1807

©  Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service

Newcastle St Giles burial register : 22 Nov 1807 "a Black man from the workhouse"
Staffordshire Record Office, F3251/1/22

Prison Registers

Stafford Prison register
No. 407: "8 May 1890 Thomas Blanchley, 3 charges of arson, painter, could read and write, age 30, religion none, born West Indies, violent lunatic"
No. 2305: "14 October 1890 Frank Elliott, drunk, labourer, could write, religion Roman Catholic, born Brazil, scar near left corner of mouth etc"
Staffordshire Record Office, D5112/19

Stafford Prison register
No. 616: "7 Mar 1891 Jasiwarra Bhageran, murder, life sentence, seaman, religion Hindoo, born India"
Staffordshire Record Office, D5112/20

Further Information

Please note that the links below are to external websites.

CASBAH Project

Moving Here: documenting 200 years of immigration to Britain - Irish, Jewish, Caribbean and South Asian. Also contains useful information for tracing your ancestry.

Although Moving Here has now closed and is no longer being maintained, you can search archived versions of the Moving Here website using the UK Government Web Archive advanced search:

  1. Open web archive advanced search
  2. Type the word, words or phrase you wish to search for in the search boxes at the top of the page.
  3. Select the 'a specific website' option under the heading 'Only show results from'.
  4. Type: movinghere.org.uk in the 'Enter URL' box
  5. Click 'Search'.

There are no results that match your search criteria