Found today’s first ever trip to the Museum of Docklands, near Canary Wharf, quite an informative and moving experience.
The main purpose of the visit was to see the Slave Trade section. Just been there gave me a sense of calm disbelief and a physical reminder of the whole disturbing period that was the african slave trade.
As I walked around and saw the displays of chains, whips, documentation and paintings of that period I could not help but feel that this happened just over 150 years ago. And yet many of us in the Caribbean community never fully understood the horrors that took place. This exhibition should be a must for every member of our community.
One of the most interesting black person of the 18/19th century was that George Bridgetower. A violinist who was born in what we called today the Ukraine and spent most of his life living in London. I did some further research when I got home and round out that Bridgetower had played with Beethoven and for a short period they were good friends.
The exhibition did briefly highlight a number of other black personalities of the pre Windrush period including the multi talented Ignatius Sancho, composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Robert Wedderburn, writers Claudia Jones & Una Marson and the actor Ira Aldridge.
Like any public attraction the Museum provides a snapshot of these inspiring black pioneers. All worth researching more and sharing with others as there are many out there who believe black people only started coming to the UK following the arrival of the Windrush in 1948. And that perception must change!