Black and Asian History in the Archives at Warwickshire County Record Office

Randolph Turpin and the Mayor on the Town Hall balcony, Leamington Spa. 1951
IMAGE LOCATION: (Warwickshire County Record Office) PEOPLE IN PHOTO: Turpin, Randolph, Turpin as a surname, Davidson, Ald O R, Davidson as a surname
Reference: PH(N), 600/291/11, img: 1143

Archives like Warwickshire County Record Office are places where the records of human history are stored and preserved for generations to come. They are also places that are freely accessible to anyone – you do not need to be an academic or a researcher to visit and view the historic documents held here.

Archives hold the sources for our collective memory and they shape how we understand ourselves as a society. They try to ensure that our whole diverse history is represented as best as possible.

Black and Asian voices in the archives

It can be tricky to find records which represent black and Asian people in Warwickshire. Sometimes records of our past do not survive and sometimes they are never created. Often, the only relevant records we have are created by white people. For example, we have records created by plantation owners, but not records from the perspective of the people they enslaved. In this way, black and Asian voices can get lost or hidden.

It might be easy to assume that that there were no black or Asian people in Warwickshire’s past. However, researchers have found that there has been a much larger black, Asian and minority ethnic presence in Warwickshire throughout the centuries than previously thought. The attachment lists some of the records for Black and Asian history we have located at our archive.

By learning about black and Asian people in Warwickshire’s past, we can recognise and celebrate their contributions to our county’s rich heritage. We can also use the past to understand where we are today, by exploring the development of culture and attitudes towards race.

How you can help

This is where you come in! Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Keep us informed: If you find more sources or stories of black and Asian histories in Warwickshire, particularly in documents which you’ve found at the record office, feel free to contact them and we can highlight them to the wider public.
  • Deposit and preserve more records: We need to make sure we are finding and preserving the records of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and organisations today. If you think you have records which are relevant, get in touch with the County Record Office and we can discuss whether the items are suitable for permanent preservation.
  • Read, write and share articles with Our Warwickshire: We have an amazing space for individuals and communities to share their own stories in their own words. It is a heritage sharing website which anyone can contribute to. It would be great to see more articles exploring Black and Asian communities, histories and memories. Just click ‘Get Involved’.