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About Another England

What do we mean by 'Another England'?

Another England aims to explore England's history through the perspective of people of colour: ensuring black and Asian people's histories are embedded in our collective national story.

The name references James Baldwin's book 'Another Country'. It was chosen to represent an alternative way of looking at England's past which has often been ignored: the perspective of black and Asian people. There is 'another story' to be told about the nation that both complements and contrasts mainstream (largely white) narratives.

Why are we doing this?

Historic England is the public body that protects and champions England's historic environment. Our aim for this project was to begin enriching well-established and understood histories of England with more diverse, open accounts. We wanted to bring greater attention to the histories of under-researched and under-represented groups. A more inclusive account of our history will enable more people to feel their stories are recognised, understand the complexities of the past and present and enjoy the historic environment.

Seated black woman wearing coat, scarf and head wrap talks into a microphone at a public meeting.
Eunice McGhie-Belgrave MBE speaking at Another England workshop, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery © Historic England, 2018

Who was on the project team?

Pidgin Perfect was commissioned by Historic England to lead a diverse project team that included:

  • Architect Dele Adeyemo
  • Historian professor Hakim Adi
  • Black studies expert Dr Kehinde Andrews
  • Engagement specialist Janet Browne 
  • Curator Kaia Charles
  • Architect Shahed Saleem 
  • Artist Alberta Whittle

The project team was supported by a steering group of black and Asian heritage and culture specialists.

What was the scope of the project?

2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. Many black Britons, as well as thousands of black and Asian soldiers from across the British Empire, fought in the war. The project takes 1918 as its starting point.

There followed a century of enormous global change and waves of migration. The century since has seen black and Asian people influence England's culture, industry, economy, and national life as never before.

The project followed the histories of people arriving from countries in Africa, South and East Asia and the Caribbean.

The project explores the reasons people came, including two world wars and established colonial and trade links. It charts the places in which they settled, worked, and socialised. It draws attention to the individuals and communities of black and Asian descent that have made their mark on the places and buildings around us in these last 100 years.

Read more about this history

What did we do?

We established an interactive map and encouraged people to tell us about the places that are important to them. We did this in two ways: through social media, and by hosting a number of workshops around the country. Over the course of a year we held workshops in Leeds, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Liverpool and met hundreds of people who are interested and knowledgeable about black and Asian history. As well as the workshops we were involved in a V&A Late, Threads and are holding an exhibition with the NOW Gallery.

See exhibition details

Two children, a girl and a boy, draw on a colourful wall chart showing a religious building, some shops and a bridge.
Another England workshop, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, Manchester © Historic England, 2018

A note on language

The project team and steering group spent a lot of time discussing the scope and the terminology for this project. It was agreed for practical reasons to limit the scope of the project to the history of black African and Caribbean people and South and East Asian people in England, as well as those of dual or multiple heritage, over the past hundred years. We will be commissioning research in other areas of ethnic minority history in future. The terms 'black and Asian' and 'people of colour' are used interchangeably in Another England acknowledging the fact that people have different preferences and that no terminology 'fits all'.

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