Initially, many community activities and social events in Bradford were hosted by the West Indian community centre based at Textile Hall on Westgate. However, a fire at this venue meant that a new community centre was needed and in 1982 Checkpoint run by the Bradford West Indian Community Centre Association (BWICCA) was established at 45 Westgate, BD1 2QU.
For nearly 4 decades Checkpoint has hosted family celebrations, classes, concerts, black history events, community groups and acted as a hub for the Caribbean community in Bradford. The group who run the site are currently looking for new premises as the narrow staircase leading to the first floor facilities make access difficult for elders or people with prams.
1982 Carlton Duncan
In 1982, Carlton Duncan became the first black head teacher in a secondary school in the UK at Wyke Manor school in Bradford.
Born in Jamaica, Carlton faced huge obstacles in his career including making over 130 job applications to gain this headship. Carlton recalls “My own personal situation, …, was bedevilled by the burdens of racism. I cannot recall a day in the entire 42 years when I, as a black man, did not have to face racism in some form or the other.” It was these experiences that lead him to embark on his own fight against racism within schools and the teaching profession as a whole. His work in this area won him an honorary Masters degree in Education and he is recognised to this day for his writing and his contributions towards the breaking down of prejudices and discriminations against people of colour. Carlton Duncan wrote his autobiography in 2011.
1984 Victor Wedderburn’s Photos of the Frontline
In 1984 Victor Wedderburn started taking a series of photographs which captured the lives of people on Lumb Lane in the Manningham area of Bradford. This area was known by some in the community at that time as ‘the frontline’; a place where black people from around Bradford would meet and socialise but would often face hostility from the police and other groups.
Born in the Parish of Manchester in Jamaica, Victor Wedderburn came to Bradford at the age of 16 to join his Windrush generation parents. After being made redundant from his job as a driver for Crofts in Thornbury, Victor used his redundancy money to buy a second-hand manual SLR camera, plus the equipment and materials to process colour photographs. With the use of black bin liners and an instruction leaflet he set up a dark room in his kitchen and taught himself how to use and process colour film. Victor’s photos from 1984/5 provide a vivid record of significant people and places on the frontline.
Young Lions Cafe
This image shows the daughters of the owners of the Young Lions Café with a couple of customers outside the site on Lumb Lane. This café was a friendly meeting place for Caribbean people and other customers. It provided a games machine, pool table, a place to play dominoes and traditional Caribbean food such as rice and peas and fried chicken at reasonable prices.
Known to all as ‘Speedy’, this image shows the well-known proprietor of Speedy Tyres, who refurbished and fitted tyres on vehicles to provide an economical and friendly service to car owners in the area.
Outside the Shops
This image shows a group of older, Windrush generation residents of the area sitting outside the shops on Lumb Lane. Some of them will be waiting for the racing results and if lucky will be heading to the bookies just round the corner to collect their winnings.
Summertime outside the Perseverance
Here we see a group of young men relaxing outside the famous Perseverance pub on Lumb Lane. Known locally as ‘the Persy’ this pub provided a welcoming social space and a hub for members of the black community and others in the area.
1988 Unique 3
Unique 3, a hugely influential dance music group from Bradford released their first record in 1988.
They were described by Pete Tong of Radio 1 as ‘The first and hardest on the UK House Scene’ and by MixMag as ‘this isn’t music it’s a physical force’
1989 Trish Cooke
In 1998 Trish Cooke had her first book Mammy, Sugar Falling Down published.
Born in Bradford, Trish’s parents were originally from the island of Dominica, part of the Windrush generation. After starting out as an actor in theatre and a presenter on TV, Trish established a career as a highly successful writer.
Mammy, Sugar Falling Down, is a book for children and describes the journey of 6-year-old Elizabeth as she leaves her home in Dominica to go and live in England. At a time when there were very few stories reflecting the lives and experiences of black children in the UK, Trish was a pioneer in this area. As well as producing work on many other themes, Trish has gone on to produce other work that reflects the experience of the Caribbean diaspora such as The Diary of A Young West Indian Immigrant.
Today Trish is a highly acclaimed, multi-award winning writer for theatre, TV, film and radio. She produces work for both children and adults and is based in Bradford. Trish is also a university tutor and delivers workshops and learning programmes for pupils of all ages in schools and colleges.
For more information about Trish’s work go to http://www.trishcooke.co.uk/about.htm