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Journeys - Caribbean stories
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Journeys - Caribbean stories

What do you imagine when you think of the Caribbean - hot weather, golden beaches and friendly locals or a place you think of as home? This theme explores the history of the Caribbean in the 1900s through images which illustrate everyday life in the islands of Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad.

The descriptions of the photographs include comments made by the elderly African Caribbean members of the Pepper Pot Day Centre in Ladbroke Grove, West London. These resulted from a series of workshops with the Pepper Pot Centre, Kensington and Chelsea Community Group and Moving Here, using the photographs as prompts for reminiscences about life in the Caribbean and their journeys to Britain. 
Many of the photographs were taken by Harry Johnston, a British Colonial Administrator in East Africa. The photographs were a result of Johnston's travels in the Caribbean at the request of US President Theodore Roosevelt, who asked Johnston to find out more about Cuba and the other Caribbean islands. The images were published in Johnston's book, The Negro in the World in 1910.
The descriptions show how different people have viewed the Caribbean, from Harry Johnston in 1908 to Dr Petrine Archer-Straw, an expert on colonial art history who reinterpreted the photos in 1999, and members of the Pepper Pot Centre in 2004. 

Key questions

  • How do you see the Caribbean?
  • Who were the Maroon community in Jamaica?
  • What were the changes from slavery to emancipation?
  • Why did so many people leave the Caribbean?
  • Who are the Caribbean community in the UK?


These factsheets provide background information to each of the key questions. They can be used together with the associated downloadable activities to investigate each area.


Find out more about the images in the gallery above PDF | MSWORD

Online activity

Want to test your knowledge of the Caribbean? Try the online quiz.

Downloadable activities

The downloadable activities used with the associated factsheets can be used in the classroom to investigate each area.


  • Moving Here: this website provides free online access to original items from 30 museums, libraries and galleries. Records illustrate and record the migration of Jewish, South Asian, Irish and Caribbean communities to England over the past 200 years
  • Breaking the Silence: this site from Anti-Slavery International aims to help teachers to 'break the silence' that continues to surround the story of the enslavement of Africa that began over 500 years ago. It is designed to provide teachers with a variety of resources and ideas about how to teach the subject. It aims to represent the voices that are not usually heard and highlight the involvement of Africans in their own liberation
  • Black Britain: information about black British history. Find out about Britains slave history and learn about the first black people in Britain. There are many black Britons listed here on this site, some famous some just ordinary citizens
  • The Gleaner - Jamaican History: important episodes in the history of Jamaica from the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner
  • Geography in the News: see the Society's in-depth report on International Migration and the UK - Caribbean born population: who will return?

Supported by:

Heritage Lottery Fund Esmee Fairbairn Foundation John Lyon's Charity

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