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John Alexander Barbour-James and wife - sepia portrait photograph from 1910, copyright of the National Portrait Gallery

Do you have tapes of local memories you could share?

Do you have any home-made VHS tapes showing life in Ealing? A history project is interested in moving images of the borough in the 1960s-1980s that helps to tell the story of what the borough was like during that time.

Your precious memories can be digitised for free, taking your film captured on VHS tapes and reproducing it on more modern media for you. And your footage may even feature in some of the artwork for an exhibition and archive called Ealing Rises Up.

Ealing Rises Up is part of Citizen UK a collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery and Ealing Local History Centre, visualising migration stories from the mid-20th Century.

Our borough has a rich but largely hidden history of migration and activism that began in the early 20th Century and continues today. This includes campaigning for rights and organising into community groups for solidarity and greater impact. In partnership with the council’s library service’s Ealing Local History Centre Archives, the National Portrait Gallery, and artists Asia Ahmed and Narvir Singh, the project investigates stories of those who stood up and resisted racism and recognise some of the lesser known figures. In collaboration with local volunteer Citizen Researchers, the project aims to creatively tell these inspiring stories using archive material, spoken word and film.

At the heart of the project is research into missing voices from the local community, many of whom are not captured in archives and collections. The volunteer Citizen Researchers from the borough are using their interest in activist histories and the experiences of black and Asian communities to delve into these stories. Citizen Researchers come from a range of generations, backgrounds and experiences and will bring these personal stories to their research into the people and events that have made Ealing. Delving into the various archives available and hearing from people with living memory of the times.

John Alexander Barbour-James is a key figure from the borough’s past, and has acted as starting point for further research.

Contact citizenuk@npg.org.uk to share your tapes and find out more about this project. The deadline for receiving your VHS tapes is 6 September 2021.

John Alexander Barbour-James

John Alexander Barbour-James (1867-1954), was a colonial official serving in the postal services. John was born in Guyana but moved his family to Acton. He was active in groups promoting the understanding of black achievements to the British and founded the African Patriotic Intelligence Bureau.

Image credit: Detail from portrait photograph by Maull & Fox; sepia carbon print, circa 1910 NPG x133301 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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