I am coming to this work as a novelist, playwright and poet trying to understand my voice as a second generation black British women. My parents came over in the 60's, my grandparents in the 50's. That part is pretty well documented, but what was here before? What did we fit in to? Afro-Caribbeans had an impression of London gained from the servicemen who came over during the war. What was life like for them? I am trying to fill in the gaps in the history of Afro-Caribbean immigration so I can bring that understanding to bear on my work.
So far I have only dipped my toe into the ocean of material there is about the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I have found books like Absolute Beginners, Notting Dale and Rotting Hill invaluable as is the good old A to Z. Its fascinating stuff but not easy reading. The history of the area was always an uncomfortable tension between classes and races. Again, I'm looking out for gaps — places where I can add value. Questions still not answered that hopefully I can answer with material from the archives.
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