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Black History Month finds in Archives

Four chiefs from Sierra Leone visiting Matfen.
Four chiefs from Sierra Leone visiting Matfen.

Northumberland Archives is celebrating Black History Month throughout October and have made several fascinating discoveries within the collections.

News articles, circa 1960, were discovered, following four chiefs from Sierra Leone who visited the WI in Matfen. The chiefs were particularly interested in seeing what part women played in UK rural communities.

Another collection includes two photographs of tribe members in Africa, taken by a Northumberland missionary family who travelled there frequently.

A third discovery is a page from a baptism register for Eglingham St Maurice, which highlights an entry showing two baptisms for April 17, 1778 – one of these being for a black male aged 15, a servant of Captain Charles Ogle, presumed to be one of the Ogles of Eglingham Hall.

Black History Month is a nationwide celebration of black history, arts and culture and is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council, said: “Our archivists at Woodhorn make fascinating finds within the vast quantity of materials that are held there.

“These details, which we are highlighting during Black History Month, are great examples of this. They demonstrate diversity and inclusion within our communities in Northumberland.”

Northumberland Archives is open to the general public from Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

No appointment is necessary, but first-time visitors must register and should bring ID – name, address and signature.