Posts tagged with 'black community'
This Black History Month we celebrate diverse voices from Liverpool’s Black community. This second blog in the series celebrates the life of Angus Wood and his contribution to the war effort during the Second World War.
“Because I am from Jamaica, an engineer didn’t think I was capable of sharpening a drill, although after that you know we got on smashing. I was treated quite well, especially when they suddenly realised that everything in Kingston was the same as in England”
Angus Wood, speaking in 2002. Liverpool Voices, Liverpool Lives archive, Museum of Liverpool.
Angus was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to Liverpool when he responded to the call for engineers to come and work in munitions factories here in Britain. He left Kingston on 13 January 1940 with a large group of other skilled men.
After a long journey they docked in Scotland and travelled by train to Liverpool. Initially they lived at the YMCA in Birkenhead.
Angus was employed at ROF Fazakerley, a newly opened rifle manufacturing factory. Initially he was treated a little differently but once he proved that he knew his job he was treated the same as the other workers. His job, a protected occupation, was to set up machines that the women workers used to cut and grind components for rifles.
Angus also joined the factory’s own Home Guard, performing night fire watches and guard duty before and after a full days work.
The women workers in the factory helped them to find lodgings with local families. Angus lived for two years with the Roberts family, in Crescent Road, Fazakerley, before meeting his wife at the factory and setting up their own home.
Angus and his friends often went to the Grafton Ballroom in their free time. Here they experienced some racism from American GIs. Angus tells us more –
“The Americans didn’t want any coloured chaps in there, and we were British so they couldn’t stop us, and when they objected there was a fight. I always keep clear of any fights. I was never personally involved in any of them”.
After the war the men were offered the opportunity to return to Jamaica, or stay in Britain. Angus, who was by then married with young children, chose to stay. He lived and worked in Liverpool, staying on at the factory until it closed in 1962.
Don’t forget to download our trail exploring how Liverpool’s Black community is represented in our displays and check out the Black History Month events across National Museums Liverpool’s venues throughout October.
11 July 2018 by Sarah
International Slavery Museum Young Ambassador, Lois South, had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Liverpool Carnival Company and interview their Director Maeve Morris. Find out more about Lois’ experience here:
“Upon entering The Old Library on Lodge Lane, I was hit by a whirlwind of feathers, sequins and, of course, glitter! The once unused space has been transformed into what I can only describe as a factory of wonders, where founders Maeve and Roger Morris, churn out costumes and floats in every conceivable colour, with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers. Read more…
9 June 2017 by Mitty
As part of the Sankofa project we’ve been thinking about the idea of mapping Black heritage in the city. Liverpool 8 is not the only place the Black communities have settled in the city but it has been long considered the most multi-cultural area of Liverpool. I was delighted to see Alvin Christie’s interactive Toxteth map which links old photos and some almost forgotten places. Alvin, who was born and grew up in Selborne Street, tells us why he decided to make this map:
“Growing up in Toxteth, it has always been deeply embedded in my psyche just how cosmopolitan and varied the local community was. With its abundance of characters and diverse ethnic mix, the south end of the city in the 1950s and 60s made for an energetic mixture of lifestyles.