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? Explore the gallery and find out what the Caribbean was like in the early 20th century. 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. Find out more about the project.

A Jamaican ArtisanMany 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 re-interpreted the photos in 1999 and has provided the background information, to members of the Pepper Pot Centre in 2004. This is now available as a touring exhibition - please email uta@rgs.org for further details.

How do you see the Caribbean?

Who were the Maroon community in Jamaica? [Word] [Pdf]

What were the changes from slavery to emancipation? [Word] [Pdf]

Why did so many people leave the Caribbean? [Word] [Pdf]

Who are the Caribbean community in the UK? [Word] [Pdf]