The Osier Project.

20200611_135822preview (5)The start.

Dames Road Forest Gate. If I ever took the 58 bus from Markhouse Road to Green Street I’d wonder at the word “Dames”. Where Richard Dames lived is now Anna Neagle Close so they say. It’s a probable local history. Charles Richard Dames (1793-1862) was a sugar refiner and very wealthy. A sugar refiner and a landowner with properties in Forest Gate and Whitechapel. He had a freehold estate used for his sugar refinery in Lambeth Street, Whitechapel where he had cooperages and a steam sugar-house. stables and a pub called The Crown or Tne White Hart (The London Gazette 11th May 1877) Notice The London Gazette notice fifteen years after Dames died.


Research showed that the Dames family lived in Chingford and Forest Rise at Whipps Cross besides Forest House (Dames Road) in what was called West Ham.

Charles Dames was a millionaire wben he died leaving the wealth to his three sons and his daughter.

Slavery in Britain as in trading in slaves ended legally in 1833. Sugar and tobacco were coming into London ports. Sugar was white gold. In 1768 there were steam-powered sugar mills in Jamaica.

A sugar-boiler lived on Odessa Road in the late 1800s.



William Colegrave. He bought Cann Hall Manor just off from Dames Road and on a  clear route to Wanstead in 1671 and died in 1721 when he was buried with his wife and sons in St Sepulchre London.

Colegrave was a merchant (likely of wool) living in Ellingham, Norfolk, renting out Cann Hall to tenants so he was an absent landlord and we speculated why he would want Cann Hall area, farm and all. Buxton School is built on a site adjacent to Cann Hall Farm. We can visualise that carts could traverse the tracks across fields and  by other farms down by Dagenham Brook and reach Lea Bridge area. Author Claire Weiss advises us that those living nearer West Ham, Essex used the crossing of the River Lea at Bow whilst Lea Bridge Road area had its own history regarding getting traffic across the Lea.

Colegrave and Manby were related* . A Manby is recorded in Stratford Essex. There was definitely a Colegrave -Manby relatonship in 1840 and a Manby dynasty owned Denver Hall in Norfolk. A Thomas Manby-Colegrave was referenced in 1886. The Manby name goes back to Edward 1st’s reign.

A William Colegrave Esq. owned Downsell Hall in Essex hence Downsell Road in E10 where Cann Hall estate existed. * A Manby also at Downsell Hall married a Colegrave woman. An Edwàrd Manby-Colegrave had connection to slaving in Cuba. Slavery in Cuba was illegal by 1886. Details to follow. And dates.

Colegrave spent days in London at or near Lambeth Palace and that cultural venue was known as La Place.

(A John Manby in 1623 left the UK to go to Virginia.

A Richard Lee Manby was definitely a slaver.)

In his will William Colegrave of St Giles in the county of Middlesex said he wanted” to be buried  near his wife and where so many of his children and grandchildren lie”. Those sons he named as Henry, William and three (sic) daughters, Frances, wife of Edward Simpson; Mary Walmesley, and Barbara Mordaunt; also a nephèw John Savery (1712-1721).

In conclusion, despite deep research we could not link that rich “merchant” with slaving and plantations.  We have in Leytonstone a Colegrave Road.

As a breather, here are roads we used as starting points to suspected slavers:-

Dames Road

Vansittart Road

Manby Grove

Blackhorse Road

Vansittart Road

Ingestre Road

Cobbold Road

Colegrave Road

Maynard Road

Barclay Road

Greville Road

Warwick Road

Brooke Road

Overton Drive

Markmanor Avenue

Dyers Hall Road


Back to the stories.

In 1623 Sir William Batten (1601-1667) had Black House. He was a Merchant Taylor in 1623 and a Freeman of Portsmouth by 1638. It is probable that Batten’s wife’s family owned Black House or even Greville.

Sir Thomas Cooke (1648-1709) in 1697 was a Lord of the Manor of Hackney. He was an associate at the East India Company and the governor of the Bank of England. He had estates in American as in plantations. He belonged to the Royal African Company (slavers).

In 1671 Colegrave had Cann Hall Manor.

1673 Josiah Child (1668-1704) inherited Wanstead House. He married Cooke’s daughter in 1691. Cooke had been knighted in 1690. The wedding was at St John At Hackney.  Child was 23 years old. His father had been director at the East India Company.  Cooke was many things.  It looks like a mercantile economic marriage except Child never continued in his father’s work.

In his lifetime,  Cooke as a Lord of Hackney Manor, had control of the goings-on down Lea Bridge Road.

Josiah Child had married the daughter of a slaver. When he died he was living in Hackney. His wife Elizabeth survived another thirty odd years after him in Hackney.

I moved from Burwell Road up to The Lanes in Forest  Gate. My house is from 1860 and has the scullery, narrow stairs and outside WC typical of old stock railway workers’ two-up  two-down dwellings built to line the new railway tracks in Victorian Britain. The house was built by John Cobbold and the Earl of Shrewsbury who stated in the deeds that no water closet should be built. Wasn’t me, gov. I had nearly bought a house in Cobbold Road Leytonstone and had researched the area at the time (2017).  I’d found the sites of Cobbold School and Cann Hall Lane School . I’d climbed to the roof of old Tom Hood School and seen on a ground level wall the stone wall plaque  commemorating the Wanstead Board of Education elementary Cobbold School 1901. Cobbold was on my radar.

John Cobbold and The Earl of Shrewsbury by name of John Talbot were members of Parliament and of the Conservative Land Society.  The Society bought up land next to the railway over Vansittart Road and built homes for the people moving out of Whitechapel and Hoxton in a bid to house rail workers and get party votes.

Vansittart was the first Chancellor of The Exchequer.  There’s Talbot Road, Ingestre, Bective  and many where further research will outline the political lives behind the celebrity names. Alton Towers comes into the colourful  background.

Cobbold was a pioneer in the creation of the local GOBLIN railway and further. He came from a line of Ipswich brewers now known as Tolly Cobbold which has since around 2005 been swallowed up by a bigger brewery.

There is great joining line between the Parliament groups in 1860 and the Royal African Company.  Any business with the Atlantic Slave Trade had been outlawed by the British government in 1833. Compensation was then paid to the plantation owners by the British government and the debt was finally paid off by British tax-payers in 2015.

Cobbold has no found personal link to slaving. He sat on committees where many had financial business in slavery.

Vansittart belonged to a company to decolonise and repatriate freed slaves. It was seen by some as a ploy that furthered the principles of slavery in that it assisted bereft slavers and was of no benefit to Africans. Liberia is now the name of that country for that intended de-colonisation. The British colonialists rather repatriated freed slaves to Sierra Leone.

Miscellaneous: Ingestre voted with the West India interest into the sugar duties 12th Sept. 1831.

Back  to Lea Bridge Road. Author Claire Weiss describes in her admirable and fascinating research about Blackmarsh and Lea Bridge Farm the silk dyers at the farm.

John Peck in 1739 had built four dwellings for widowed dyers of Bethnal Green. There is a Dyers Hall Road off Grove Green Road Leytonstone. It was in the 1700s part of a plant nursery approached from Leytonstone High Road.

John Peck was on the board of the Worshipful Company Dyers of London. Dyers worked with cloth merchants. ‘Merchant’ is a suspect word a bit like ‘trader’. He came from Ipswich.

Sir Robert Ladbroke (1713-1773), very much involved in the Hugeonot  circles,  married Peck’s granddaughter called Elizabeth Brown. Ladbroke was a banker and a distiller in Lombard Street and Lord Mayor of London. His and Elizabeth’s son called Robert, a banker, distiller and politician, married a Kingscote, a banker’s daughter, in Walthamstow Essex in 1769. Walthamstow! There werè estates of land inherited by every generation. The banking interest was taken in by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1841.

Definitely Peck’s granddaughter by marrying into a banker’s dynastical enterprise had married into the financiers of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Was Peck alive?


So far, not much money filtering down to the workers and peasants of the land by Lea  Bridge Road except in the form of presumably free board for the Dyers Hall Road widows’ refuge home. I would assume that the widows were of Hugeonot descent.


William Morris. Talking of Ladbrokes in Walthamstow.

William Morris ( 1834-1896)

Morris worked on copper plating. Copper comes from mines. He visited the Duke of Bedford’s mines to buy that copper. Now where did the Dukes of Bedford wealth originate? Touchy here because Morris is Waltham Forest’s darling after Hitchcock. Or before, depending on the season. The  extremely rich Russell family holders of the Duke of Bedford title since Henry v11 had amassed wealth from the Empire’s business trading in the Americas and the East. The Duke Morris dealt with collected  royalties paid by  the Cornish Devon copper-mines on his land in Tavistock which he owned. Now our socialist rich craftsman Morris must have smelt that wealth. Morris senior had shares in the mine and with five other investoŕs owned it. The copper was shipped to the Americas. William Morris of wallpaper fame was a director of the company owning the copper mines. Nice and rich, he then became a socialist. You couldn’t make it up.

What did the poor of Walthamstow get from Morris? Servants’  jobs at The Water House.

That castle in “Downton Abbey” was the home of the Russell dynasty, the Dukes of Bedford. The current owner of their Highclere Castle which is indeed a manor house, Russell, has a a list of titles and it was his great grandfather who used his wealth or his wife’s to employ Carter to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun. That senior Russell died from a mosquito bite.

Sir Fisher Tench owned a plantation in Virginia, America. He was sub-governor of The Royal African Company. Strype follwed him around like a scribing shadow. Tench lived in tbe Leyton Great House. He had an ostentatious funeral all stage-managed at his death and his coffin is entombed at St Mary’s Church Leyton E 10 as in Essex of yore and that burial plot showcases an enormous head stone. Tench’s father Nathaniel was the first governor of the Bank of England. Sir Fisher was an MP, an associate of the East India Company, a baronet and the High Sheriff of Essex in 1711.

He converted his slaves to Christianity.

We needed to find out how his inherited and accumulated enormous wealth from being a City of London financier and having a say in many companies benefited  the population of rural Leyton. Still searching.

S for Slaver.


That Maynard legacy examined.

Henry Maynard.(-) Lord of The Manor of Walthamstow sold the land by St Mary’s Church Walthamstow which now houses a museum and before that a police station for £6 in 1726 for it to be a workhouse for the parish poor. A Thomas King and his wife were the workhouse governors. The purpose was for the Vestry (church) committee of elders to be relieved of maintaining the paupers in the village. Paupers became inmates.

We did find that Sir Charles Maynard the second Viscount and the fifth baronet (1751-1824) did in 1820 repair the ferry crossing near Black House. It arose from the question about who funded parish workhouses. In Walthamstow, the church.

We looked into the upkeep of the infrastructure in Essex and by Blackmarsh Farm. In the C18th there was a Public Works Loan Scheme for the maintenance of bridges and public amenities such as wells, roads and bridges. The landowners as in Lords of tne Manors controlled the works on anything needing mended. The treasury through the Bank loaned money to the magnates  who were never held accountable for its whereabouts. Depositors feared that the Bank would collapse so they took out their money. Merchants who relied on the Bank for mortgages and else were being bankcrupted. The alternative which happened was to tax the population for parish repairs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, opposed the PWLB scheme 1779. (Estate Acts 1600-1830).


Francis Greville (1719-1773) Slaver 1771 Tobago. 1st Earl of Warwick. Lord Brooke then Earl Brooke. No connection to Leyton or Walthamstow. The road is named after another Francis Greville who was Lord Lieutenant of Essex and wealthy from his slaving ancestors. Q E D.  We can find nothing to establish the Greville’s value to the osier gatherers down by Lea Bridge Farm.

All those rich landowners about but no paid work for the peasants. Scientifically speaking, we wòuld need to compare Walthamstow Essex with other Essex parishes. Remember this is a desk-top primary research project as an eye-opener for seniors based in Leyton. It is a motivation to use digitally registered information and current technology.

We  thank Claire Weiss of Leyton, Bill Bayliss, Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society, E7 Now and Then, Wikipaedia, History Matters at Sheffield University and more to reference as we remember or see from scrappy notes.

We find no connection from the lineage of the celebrated Maynards to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Their history is Walthamstow. We did find a Maynard with an estate in Jamaica and we will return to clarify that.



The Mill-owners.

By Blackmarsh Farm there were mills. There was Lea Bridge Mill by the Cowbridge and Coppermill by Walthamstow Common Mead and the osier beds parallel to the Black Path. Further afield, literally, along the River Lea towards Stratford were the Temple Mills. Williams, the owner of Temple Mills from 1788, made the copper linings for the slave ships.

By 1720 the mills were turned over from corn-milling to interests in woollen manufacture and the workers are never referred to as millers. Black House Lane in Saxon times was the route from the common lands of Higham Hill to the nearest mills plural at what is now called Lea Bridge (area). Nothing to do with slavers here that we could find and no evidence that Lords of The Manor owned the mills.

Conclusion. It was a very knowledge laden introduction to desk-top primary research. Most of the volunteers on the project had no access to the internet and all relinquished their interest after week two.

Barnham and I finished our intense research after one month.

It is now June 11th 2020. The world is in uproar demonstrating about the colossal legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Author Gillian Lawrence

Contributors Mary Barnham Gillian Lawrence

January 2020 to March 2020

Please credit the author in any lifting of text.


The Osier Project.

20200610_110742Atlantic Slave Trade  1500- 1833.


Slaver Suspects. Names we researched regarding “suspicious intergenerational wealth”. No man was an island.

1623? Sir William Batten  at Black House

1623 John Manby UK to Viginia

1630 -1707 Mingo

1632-1719 John Lethellier

1648 Cooke in Hackney

1662 Richard Lee  (Maryland)

1671 William Colegrave (Cann Hall)

1673 Josiah Child  at Wanstead House

1673-1736 Tench at Leyton House

1682 David Barclay

1707 – 1723 Tyssen at Lea Bridge Mill

1720 Williams at Temple Mill

1739 John Peck re Dyers Hall

1742 Brandon re tobacco

1742 Greville aka Lord Brooke.

1746 2nd Viscount Maynard

1753- 1993 Slater at Knotts Green

1779 Vansittart, N Chancellor of the Exchequer

1783 David Barclay re Jamaican plantation

1840 Cann Haĺl Manor

1840 Manby-Colegrave

1844 Duke of Bedford

1847 Lee m. Cobbold

1853  Charles Greaves re.Waterworks

1855 Dames at Forest House

1859 William Morris

1860 Cobbold and Talbot re Conservative Land Society

1886 Thomas Manby-Colgrave

John Strype

John Pardoe of Manor Houe Leyton Essex

Charles II

Robert Christmas

Jane Soresby

Hayes re Coppermill

Walter Maynard


Places and enterprises of interest-

Bankers E10. E11 E5

Brewers E17 E5

Lea Bridge Farm by Claire Weiss

Palatial Hackney Buildings

St John at Hackney Church

Etloe House

Dames Road Essex (E7)

Wanstead House

Conservative Land Company

Forest Gate Essex houses.

Cann Hall Farm.

St Mary’s Church Leyton

St Sepulchre (Old Bailey)



The Osier Project.

Last winter 2020, Up Your Street seniors gathered to hear a local social historian tell tales of research about the undug archaeology of Lea Bridge Farm and environs. At the end there were some mutterings about the wealth which built the area and reference was made to the Atlantic Slave Trade. A senior agreed to present a talk about that subject at the end of the year.
Up Your Street seniors would be the audience. To boost background knowledge I invited them to join in desk-top research about Leyton’s past and we’d use Facebook as our vehicle to post findings.Three people enrolled but nothing materialised. I contacted researcher Mary Barnham and we scoured records and primary research to gather stories about C18th Lea Bridge Road area. We were looking for those rich men and women firstly  in C18th England who were very involved in slaving even if by marriage. Who benefited and how did they relate to Leyton?


Last Saturday , nearly a week ago I self-isolated as I was exhausted from two busy working weeks. Before I settled to Voice UK. I grabbed my coat and pass. card and keys, mobile and specs and faithful trolley to make the Co-Op. I was on a mission for my isolated family and for my crisp addiction. Successful veg and fruit trip and some essentials like reduced loaves and pork pies.
I am so overwhelmed by being indoors because I have so much on the go and pump up my energy with water and tomatoes. Must be good for you. Today, pissed off with a creative shadowing me and finding out that the sun is not coming out and another of my flock has gone off radar. Sad but true and I can’t take on any others’ problems and their mental health issues. Majorly angry at Johnson and his waffling half-baked strategies.
Another project started last week is Positive In Crisis where I tap into seniors’ experiences of all the crazy art workshops we’ve attended over 13 years and the free art exhibitions to see the famous and infamous old masters forever and smatterings of black newcomers. It’s all at Facebook so seniors aren’t looking in that much but I motivated ten Up Your Street enthusiastic for one hour participants. Sandra’s beavering away. Jasmine’s finding her fabrics and Glenys wants direction. We’ll do this art through the quarantine period and exhibit in the autumn. I remain positive, There is no other way to be.

Added on to Cyberspace at Facebook where I deleted some other pages including my boring Self_Isolation Diary 2020 is Homing In where retired teachers at Up Your Street can relay confidence to home-schooling parents as they enter a world they left behind years ago before they used schools as mothers. Not an easy task to learn ’em kids indoors.

The deathly quiet Osier Project is in reclusive state. My sister and I researched till our eyes bled and realised those who gave interest were not pitching in. Can’t keep flogging dead horses. Got viruses to fightpreview-1.jpeg.


News on a loop with experts giving their takes on whatever the Government waffles out. Bee Gees on telly full blast. Bra off (in self-isolation). Tea in mug. Excited about something.
In 2013 I helped to clear out a Walthamstow post-code E10 flat on Lea Bridge Road or was it a Leyton address with an E17 post-code. It was certainly on the E17 Village boundary. Hallowed ground for a des.res.
I found and claimed two Victorian samplers which any museum in London will tell you are two a penny.I cherished them and for a while they were in exhibition at Walthamstow Girls’ School and without explanation were totally foreign to the school population which represented multi-cultural teenage Britain.
I began some internet researching and found a photo of an aged lady with the same name as the child embroiderer/sampler. At the time, to me the surname/family name was unusual but it’s not. There was nothing to see by the photo except an obituary. I researched more and found that the police constable at Vestry House when it was a police station bore the same name as my child sampler and after all the embroidered stuff was found in E17.I presumed the guy was the father and to this day I cannot find that article I read about him. I will. I cannot use Vestry as I don’t like the place or the quietness.
So years passed and I had infrequent conversations by email with a long-neglected sister. Last week I asked her to find some information about my girl.
My sister is ace at Ancestry UK. We have done other projects together and been successful.
Remember we are both self-isolating and we work into the early hours when our eyes are smarting and watering.
After many leads where the dates could not match and errors by Govt. clerks obviously published years ago she. my sister found the glorious family tree. The dad was the constable. Our girl died at 100 years old.
We are now searching for the grandchildren and am at a glitch right now as one daughter-in-law died childless. Heir hunters. I will hand over the samplers. There will be no flourish. Only 50 somethings and better get excited by family history. This isn’t even my family. That’s one of terror and abuse.
There are many bits and pieces to prove such as who really had the samplers in the flat in the scullery? The constable being at Vestry is not totally proved but the girl is found.
Things to do whilst a virus rages.leyton memories

Tidings of Joy.

Up Your Street issue 1. Jan 2020
———————-   ———–   ————–

Sat. Jan 4th FREE 10-12 noon. Hale End Library
“Art With Sue”. Series of exploratory art. Booking at Eventbrite. Some already booked through me.

Sun Jan 5th FREE 11a.m. Tate Modern exhibition Olafur Eliasson. Book by emailing me. Up Your Street subscribers only.

FREE. 2-3.30PM Guided tour of Abney Park Cemetery. Book at Eventbrite.

Happy New Year

It was 2007

Three of us met at Streetlife Radio which became StreetlifeFM.It was down in St James area down the bottom of Walthamstow Market. Age UK probably Age Concern then invited through a posh white woman advert in the local paper 50+ people to do a course in radio producing and presenting. Four years later I said to a mate “What does Age UK actually do?” She said “They gave us a radio course”. Put me in my place. Four years later she said to me, ” I am leaving volunteering for Age Concern because they don’t care if I come or not. Do you know how much the director earns? I will do one more year to get my ten year gift then leave.”
He He. Say it like it is.
Ten turned up and the clever radio peeps from outwith the borough sent us to do vox pops. We saw rats roaming in broad daylight by where the buses turn and pounced on anyone to get practice in turning on and off the mic. Back at the studio aka a back room on site we processed our work. I remember most people were not ofay with using a mouse. Rats and mice. We were sent into a hall while three people at a time were using the three edit machines. So Up Your Street was born as three of us way back then and younger chatted about why we came to a radio station. We exchanged contact details but I was the only one with an email address. Thirteen years on and the other two women still don’t have an email address. One doesn’t have a mobile phone and the other doesn’t communicate with me anymore despite having seven phones. Seven!
The main mission of Up Your Street was to motivate seniors to use emails and therefore the internet. Failed that, huh? They’d receive bulletins weekly by email about free events and activities for seniors around the QEOP.
I wrote with a biro to both women and from there and other promoted by me activities the organisation expanded through collecting email addresses. I wanted to set up another platform called “4Diversity: Together As One” but two women fought over who’d be the accountant. Turned out no-one had an email address anyway. I sighed.
From the radio course two of us went to level 2 radio presenting situated at Chat’s Palace in those days when the toilets were manky and the front door was a thief’s delight which was that badly taught and managed so that everyone passed. One of my colleague’s does her own magazine radio show weekly since those heady days. Dedicated. The others vanished into the crowd. Two opened another radio station later. Who knows what piles up in Cyberspace?

Akala’s “Natives” and Myers’ “7 Steps”.

20160429_074439.jpgIn 1986 I was at a Leyton school meeting with the head and another teacher present whilst we awaited the members of a larger group. A conversation was flowing agreeably. I answered someone:-
“Yes, I am multi-cultural”.
“Why do you see yourself as multi-cultural?”
“Because I just am. I’m aware of everything around me”.
I wasn’t sure whether the questioner were trying to trip me up or think of a question to ask hopeful interviewees for jobs in the school.
Akala said how all his life he is aware of racism. Myself too. And I taught the next generation down as much as I could. I stopped my sister almost my age, brought up in the same neighbourhood, from using racist words.
Myers tells us about her own mother who married outside her people, tribe, and suffered not necessarily because of her or her man’s racism but certainly she put her own mixed race children into a vipers’ den, into a 1980s era of Racist London as was, is now and ever will be despite laws, despite mixing up.

People say stupid ignorant things and somehow expect me to let them pass.
All my personal peers, not my friends, are racist and not multi-cultural. I am always on alert and always have been. I have supported people put into difficult personal positions because of their colour. I have been in those positions myself.
So Akala and Myers, well done. Your writings could not be clearer.

art trails

someone-elses-story-1882.jpg.jpegWhere I live is in the bosom of art trails. Sandwiched between the cleavage are parishes without such jollies. It’s all about anxious artists wanting to stamp their places on paving stones. It’s art with fierce promotion reaching out to other artists because everyone I talk who’s not dabbling in acrylics and rags hasn’t a clue about art trails, community art and any art.
You have to fork out readies to be included in a brochure. Whoopee. Facebook picks up more footfall.
Some art -trails have so much on that you have to sit down and plan out your route and hope that on your personal artogy you feel up to it and that the sun doesn’t drive you into the shade of an art caff where you’ll find an excuse to stay all day. Chumming along is good because you can mutter “Mmm” to another quizzical face. But looking at art alone by yourself is a meditative experience, spirit-raising.
I wanted people to see my art, so booked it into a caff after agreeing to down-size my work for the smaller walls. To get a tableful of my peers to munch amongst acrylics and recycled textiles was very difficult let alone the angst of having to remind the café to put up my work. Had to be done and now it’s done I question the whys and wherefores and I won’t join in again.
Someone else’s party.

Our Day Out

Get rid of the assumption that all white people think the same and all black people think the same. Cast away any negative that some commentaries at some events demonise the white or other race. Today was a learning day on a boat with one hundred and ninety-nine other people with those being mainly of African-Caribbean heritage. It was fantastic.
It was all of that because it was well-organised and strict. We were on a boat up and down the Thames so no mucking about. Everyone had paid their £35 tickets, had arrived in time as warned and expected to be entertained and taught something.
What wonderful hosts. What a lovely welcome and what a trip.
The boat was packed. It was no way a luxury craft. The upstairs deck was for standing only and downstairs was cramped. No-one took off their coats so I think it was chilly.
There were no refreshments except bar-fare. Those who needed and wanted a chair got one.
The commentary by Steve Martin was ace in that it showed much thorough research and was delivered via tannoy with an informal and engaging tone. Steve had a wealth of snippets of information up his coat-sleeve.

Up Your Street seniors were out in force writing notes and taking in all the information, turning their heads to port, to starboard, hearing the names of un-celebrated “Negroes”. and nasty slavers. We learnt again about eighteenth century literate lawyers from African and Caribbean descent and Africans pining for home. Historic women writers of colour were brought to life by today poets and contributors in costume. How fabulous.

Books and writings were continually recommended as we sat amongst Black activists in this our twenty-first century, dames, and writers, agitators and book-sellers, Windrush and before descendants, artists and museum guides, senior staff in London schools and Auntie Thomasina Cobbly and all.

London by boat is fine at anytime, Today the bridges looked majestic and the glass of the City Of London forced us to reflect on the fact that the City was built on the riches of sugar and slaves. Those rich Georgian traders included astute but now immoral people of colour who worked alongside watermen and a maritime workforce and their bosses; often employers full of viciousness and able to treat their servants like churlish dogs.

Aah, but we know much of this now. The high rating we gave this event was down to the welcome, the inclusiveness and generous invitation and the fact that human stories were brought to life through Steve and others’ accounts of the lives of people who were just “lodgers, if that”. Black people in London over five hundred years.