African Lives in Northern England: The stories of people of African descent who have lived and are living in Northern England

This interactive map, PowerPoint and wall chart tell the stories of the many men and women of African descent who have visited and lived in villages and towns across the North East of England and Cumbria. These individuals made life better for people in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the USA as well as for us in Northern England. There are many people of African descent who have lived or are living in the North East of England and Cumbria. Many are living ordinary lives, helping their neighbours and work mates; others are famous for sport, writing books and helping communities. Northern England is home to many different communities and has been so since Roman times.

This resource has been produced by the African Lives in Northern England Project. We would like to thank Rosa Lores-Prevatt of Greenleaf Primary, London, Roshan Nnaji of St Mary’s Catholic School, Newcastle and Newcastle Antiquaries for their help in producing this resource.

African Lives in Northern England Timeline

African Lives in Northern England Map


Teaching idea

These interactive resources and PowerPoint explore the many ways in which people of African descent who lived or visited northern England enriched our heritage and the heritage of our towns and villages and the wider world. The individuals covered range from Roman times to the 21st Century. They represent a range of themes including early residents of the North East of England and Cumbria, Africans in uniform, writers, orators and sports people as well as medical people, entertainers and nation builders! As well as information about the people the PowerPoint also includes a range of research tasks and activities to help pupils engage with this subject.

We would encourage you to explore the amazing lives of these individuals either through these themes, chronologically through the timeline or based on the location in which you are teaching via the map.

We have a limited number of printed copies of the Wall Chart that we can send out to schools. To request a printed copy please email [email protected] with your school name and contact details.

To help you put these people in a broader context you may also wish to download our Introduction and Guidance for Teachers and Children’s Book List.

If you and your students are inspired to create some great lessons/resources based on these Significant Individuals we’d love for you to share them with us via [email protected]

Learning aims and outcomes

  • To learn about the contribution people of African descent have made to the North East and Cumbria and begin to build appreciation of the diversity of the region
  • To understand the interconnections between the North East and Cumbria, the rest of England, the rest of Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and North America because of the movement of people throughout history
  • To raise awareness of some of the lesser known stories of individuals who came from Africa and the Caribbean and the impact they had on the North East and Cumbria and our heritage
  • To highlight the way in which people from African descent have influenced significant historical events and are linked to our local buildings in the North East and Cumbria.
  • To gain an improved understanding of enslavement, discrimination and racism, whilst exploring the ways in which they can, and have, been challenged throughout history.

Prior knowledge

  • An awareness that Northern England is home to many different people from different countries and backgrounds.
  • An understanding that people have visited and come to live in the North east of England and Cumbria from across the world and have done so since Roman times
  • A geographical understanding of Northern England