Tours, Talks and Walks

Saturday 24 June and Saturday 22 July, 2.00pm-4.30pm

Heritage Centre Tours

A tour of the heritage centre takes in the archive store, learning centre, reading room and exhibition space, providing an overview of the history of the organisation and an introduction to our collections. A heritage centre tours costs £5.00 per person or £3.00 concession for a minimum of 5 to maximum of 20 people per tour. Tours can be booked for Tuesday-Friday, although we may be able to provide a Saturday tour by special arrangement. To request a group booking form please email or ring 0203 757 8511.

Brixton Sound Walking Tour
Saturday 24 June and Saturday 22 July, 2.00pm-4.30pm

This extended walking tour will explore the stories and sites that represent more than 100 years of Black music in Brixton. From the musicians who brought jazz to the UK, the record shop that was headquarters to the British civil rights movement, the Trinidadian superstar who created an anthem for the Windrush generation, how the arrival of the sound system that changed British music forever. From dub poetry to dubstep, the radiogram to the radio stations, we will be walking the footsteps of generations of ravers in Brixton – this walk is a “one away” classic.

This is an extended walking tour. A good level of mobility is required. The walking tour will last approximately two and a half hours.

Book online

Nightclubbing with Radicals in Soho (1915-1965)
Saturday 8 July and Saturday 19 August, 2.00pm-4.00pm

This walking tour will trace the web of narrow streets in the central London neighbourhood of Soho. Once known as London’s ‘negro quarter’, we will explore the nightclubs, bars and restaurants of Soho. Tracing the stories of the Caribbean pioneers who brought jazz to London during the First World War, the cafe that was a home to icons of the Pan African movement, the clubs where future statesmen gained their training in political organising and the man responsible for bringing Jamaicans to Brixton. We will explore the Black club owners, musicians, dancers, politicians and poets, and how nightclubbing in Soho changed history.

This walking tour will last approximately two hours.
£10, £7 concessions
Book online


Celebrating Sound System Culture with Sir Lloyd Coxsone

Friday 30 June, 6.30pm-10.00pm

Black Cultural Archives pays tribute to the “Kings of Sound” with Sir Lloyd Coxsone, internationally renowned and critically-acclaimed for his influence on the rising sound system culture that now exists in the UK. From roots reggae to ska, lovers rock and his production of dub sets, Sir Lloyd Coxsone’s sound has played a pivotal role in advocating for and popularising the Black sound in the UK, in the absence of other musical outlets.

Discover how Sir Lloyd Coxsone’s desire to promote the empowering messages of Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, and Bob Marley through music informed the UK sound system movement – a network of soundmen dedicated to the promotion, celebration, and preservation of our Black musical heritage. From Saxon Sound to Quaker City in Birmingham, we explore how the widely celebrated tradition of sound clashing was born from a culture that prided itself on self-reliance, artistic collaborations, and a competitive spirit of trademarking new sounds.

£7, £5 concessions
Book online

The Politics of Music: Steel Pulse and Handsworth
Thursday 20 July, 7.00pm-9.00pm

Steel Pulse is a pioneering and award-winning reggae band that exploded onto the British music scene in the 1970s. Adopting the political messages of Jamaican roots reggae, Steel Pulse helped create a musical platform for British reggae bands to comment on the social conditions that people of African descent experienced in Britain.

Drawing on Jamaican artists such as Bob Marley, Bearning Spear, Heptom and the Abyssians, Steel Pulse were part of a movement of Black musicians that traced the lineage of their cultural roots back to Africa. Cultural heritage formed a key feature within their music and gave rise to the unique sound of British roots reggae bands that would use music as a tool for voice and consciousness raising and the repositioning of a cultural identity.

Find out how this band used music to embed the pan-African aspiration of unity from the roots movement in order to respond to the politics of social exclusion led by government institutions. Join us in conversation with Mykaell Riley, former Steel Pulse band member, Director of Black Music at Westminster University, researcher, producer, and longstanding singer/songwriter.

Book online

“Wot do you call it, Garage?” How UK Garage Gave Voice to a New Generation of MCs: In conversation with Decimal, MC Longers, and Clencha.

Friday 28 July, 6.30pm-10.00pm

This Black Cultural Archives special explores the influence that UK garage had on youth culture in 1990s and early 2000s. Through the lens of local music crews Vinyl Villains and 15 Family, we explore how UK garage created alternative spaces for belonging. Whether an MC or DJ, a club goer or club promoter, UK garage culture presented a new platform for a generation of young people to express themselves. From street fashions to MC battles, discover how UK garage gave voice to a new generation of music crews.

£10 for talk and performance, £7 for exhibition and performance.
Book online

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