Black Cultural Archives
Black Cultural Archives is actively collecting archives which are representative of the experiences of Black people in Britain.
We may also collect material from the first half of the twentieth century and pre-1900 which contribute to telling the story of the presence of Black people in Britain. We will not normally collect pre-1800 or non-British material, or seek to add to our collection of museum artefacts, art and sculpture.
Over thirty years ago, Len Garrison, a co-founder of Black Cultural Archives, asked the question ‘Where are our Heroes, Martyrs and Monuments?’. Founded in 1981, Black Cultural Archives began collecting materials which would seek to redress the historical imbalance of the representation of Black people in Britain. The aim to build a monument to collect, preserve and promote understanding of Black cultural heritage has been realised and at the heart of this aim is the collections.
The community archive that was amassed over all these years was transformed in 2008 through a two-year project called ‘Documenting the Archive’, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This brought in professional archivists working closely with a large team of volunteers to catalogue our collections of books, objects, and archives.
1 Windrush Square
Phone: 0203 757 8510 OR 8511
Access: The reading room is open three days a week, Wednesday-Friday 10.00am-4.00pm. We have a late night opening on the second Thursday of every month, 1.00pm-7.00pm.* We are also open for library browsing every Saturday afternoon, 1.00pm-4.00pm. Please note that we are unable to provide access to archive material on Saturdays.
We have desk spaces for eight people at any one time in the reading room, so we do ask that everyone books an appointment in advance to view archive material. If you have not booked an appointment in advance then we can only allow access if space is available. If you have any queries or would like to book a place in the reading room please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0203 757 8510 or 0203 757 8511.
The reading room contains our two reference library collections: The Runnymede Trust library and Black Cultural Archives library.
There are two computers in the reading room as well as power points for those who would like to bring their own laptops and devices.
We collect material relating to Black British history, mainly post 1945.