Bernie Grant Archives at the University of Middlesex
Middlesex University Archivist, Judy Vaknin
0208 411 6686
The late Bernie Grant MP led a remarkable life. Over 35 years, he was at the forefront of a furious dialogue about race in British society as a trades unionist and civil rights activist, as the first ever Black Leader of a local authority in Europe in Haringey, North London, as an outspoken Black Member of Parliament, and as an international campaigner.
A record of these crucial years is contained within Bernie's papers, in books and magazines, memorabilia, correspondence, audio and video material and hundreds of photographs of meetings and demonstrations. Together they tell not only his story, but of the struggles of an entire generation of black and minority ethnic citizens who arrived in Britain in the post war period.
In partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund and Middlesex University the Bernie Grant Trust appointed a professional archivist to preserve, catalogue and make accessible, a permanent collection to be held at Middlesex University and on the web.
In addition to this a Guide to the Collection is available for schools and the community at large. Future plans include seeking further funding for outreach work, establishing a mobile exhibition to travel to schools and community centres throughout the country. We want to work in partnership with other archives and museums to develop joint exhibitions, both permanent and temporary. We wish to create not just a static physical archive, but a live, interactive experience that can and will be enjoyed by a wide range of people.
Bernie had a strong sense of his heritage, and strived in his lifetime to ensure that minority ethnic communities were in touch with their history. He was adamant that the present could not be understood without honesty about the past. He was especially aware that the achievements and experiences of Black communities had too often been "written out" of history. It is fitting therefore that his own life and times are properly recorded, and the collection provides a rich and unique resource for future generations who seek to understand a key period in the making of the multi-racial Britain.
Archive, Association or society
Please make an appointment as visits to the collection are by appointment only. Once an appointment is made, the search room is accessible to all members of the public free of charge on Mondays and Tuesdays 9am-5pm and Wednesdays 1pm-5pm.
If you haven't already registered, you will need to complete a reader's registration form on your first visit and produce one form of photo identification which includes your address. Archival items that you request will be retrieved for you and brought to the supervised research area.
Free - by appointment.
Visitors with Disabilities: There is easy access to the archive research room via a ramped front entrance.
Copying facilities: A photocopier is available for public use. Items can only be copied (eg photocopied, photographed, scanned etc) with the permission of the Archivist at Middlesex University. Decisions are made on the basis of the fragility of the material as well as any donor and copyright restrictions that may apply.
A catalogue listing of the collection is available in hardcopy format at the archive itself as well as online through the Bernie Grant Archive, and as of June 2004, through the National Archives A2A online database [www.a2A.org.uk].
'Closed' files: While many records are openly available for public viewing (ie 'open access'), some records may be closed in accordance with the requirements of data protection legislation. Access to closed files may be granted under certain conditions upon making application to the Bernie Grant Trust [application forms for this purpose are held at the archives and with the Bernie Grant Trust].
Archives, Costume and Textiles, Personalities, Social History, World Cultures
Key artists and exhibits
- Bernie Grant MP