South Asian Sailors' history in Canning Town, East London
During the 19th and 20th centuries, a diverse community of sailors and soldiers lived in London ...
While researching a photography project, I came across some archival material about a diverse
community of sailors and soldiers who lived in Canning Town, East London, during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This neighbourhood was locally known as ‘Draughtboard Alley’ because of
the black and white people who lived there. I was surprised to learn about this community
because I had previously worked and lived in the area for years and had no idea they existed.
There was a growing presence of South Asian Sailors within this community referred to as
‘Laskars.’ I began to wonder about them. Where did they come from? What were their lives like
aboard the ships? What jobs did they do? Did they regret migrating to the UK? I was keen to learn
more about them and share their story”.
To share this history, I've created a learning resource, attached here as a PDF that you can download. This visual resource is suitable for anyone over 12 years old, interested in photography, archival images, and local history. This is intended as an educational resource, and was funded by the Greater London Authority. This booklet forms part of the Bridging History Project, whose aims are to connect people, learn about the past, and create positive change for the future.
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