1952 Masambula ( Mambuna Jeng)

In 1952 the wrestler known as Masambula who lived in Wibsey, Bradford made his debut. Appearing in a full leopard skin, with his trademark headstand against the corner post, Masambula was loved by audiences across the UK, for both his outstanding technical ability and off the cuff antics in the role of a witch doctor.

Performing at the top of the game for over twenty years he was described as ‘one of the more proficient personalities in top-of-the-bill wrestling in Britain’. Tragically, he retired from wrestling in 1975, due to a serious back injury, caused by faulty equipment during a match. Masambula struggled to get compensation for this life-changing injury but after 6 years was awarded £20,000.

1964 Daphne Steele

In 1964 a Guyanese nurse called Daphne Steele, became the first black Matron in the National Health Service at St. Winifred’s Hospital in Ilkley, in the Bradford district.

The appointment made news worldwide, with Steele receiving around 350 letters from well-wishers.

Steele underwent training in nursing and midwifery in Georgetown in 1945. She emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1951,along with many people from African countries and the Caribbean at that time as part of the British Government recruitment drive for the new National Health Service (NHS). Steele was placed on a fast-track scheme in St James’ Hospital in Balham, South London. She witnessed the racism of white colleagues and of patients. She later recalled that her Jamaican colleagues were skilled in “cussing” out particularly nasty patients.

Following retirement, Steele volunteered for a variety of organisations, and became vice-president of the Association of Guyanese Nurses and Allied Professionals (AGNAP). In 2001, the Guyanese High Commissioner to the United Kingdom awarded Steele a certificate in recognition of her medical achievements. Steele died in 2004. In her memory, AGNAP renamed their annual health talk in 2013 as The Daphne Steele Memorial Lecture.

To find out more about African and Caribbean workers in the NHS go to –