Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Dispersed or destroyed: archives, the West Indian Students' Union, and public memory

By David Clover


I wish to address a gap in the recorded history of the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, and describe how information professionals and historians can work together, to reclaim a history before it is lost. \ud The West Indian Students’ Union was formed in 1945 with the expansion in the number of students arriving in London for further and higher education. Acting as a welfare, political and social organisation the union represented students and their interests as students, as (predominantly) ‘coloured’ people in Britain, and as residents of colonial territories that were seeking independence. Many future leaders of Caribbean states and territories would occupy positions of leadership within the West Indian Students’ Union. Others returned to rise within the judiciary, academia or cultural heart of the West Indies. Students in Britain saw and arrived parallel to the Windrush era of migration, and as the children of these migrants were born and grew up, the clashes in race relations in Britain that were evidenced by such events as the Notting Hill riots of 1958, restrictions on Commonwealth immigrations and Enoch Powell’s 1968 “rivers of blood” speech and its aftermath. After the Union ceased to operate (sometime in the late 1970s) its records appear to have been lost

Topics: HIS, POL
Publisher: The Society for Caribbean Studies (UK)
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: SAS-SPACE

Suggested articles


  1. (1924). An appeal to the people of the West Indies. Lo on: West Indian Students'
  2. (2002). Archives, Records and Power; The Making of Modern Memory'.
  3. (2000). Chasing Phantoms in the Archives: The Australia House Photograph Collection'.
  4. (1955). Colonial Students in Britain. A Report by PEP. London: Political and Economic Planning.
  5. (1956). Colonial Students. A Study of the Social Adaptation of Colonial Students in London.
  6. (2001). Colonial West Indian Students in Britain. K ngston:
  7. (1963). Dark Strangers. A Scoiological Study of the Absorption of a Recent West Indian Migrant Group in Brixton,
  8. (1965). Disappointed Guests. Essays by African, Asian and West Indian Students. Lo don: Institute of Race Relations /
  9. (1977). Last Lap'. West Indies Chronicle, 56. ______________________________________________________________________ This paper was given at The Society For Caribbean
  10. (1967). New look for West Indian Students' Centre'.
  11. (1960). Newcomers. The West Indians in London. London: Centre for Urban Studies/George Allen & Unwin.
  12. (1954). Students from the colonies'. Planning,
  13. (2002). The Archival Sliver: Power, Memeory, and Archives in South Africa'.
  14. (1992). The Caribbean Artists Movement, 1966-1972. A Literary and Cultural History. London and Port of Spain:
  15. (1960). The Pleasures of Exile.
  16. (1970). The refurbished West Indian Students Centre'.
  17. (2003). To do something for the race': Harold Moody and the League of Coloured Peoples'.
  18. (1998). West Africans
  19. (1955). West Indian Students in UK. Princess Margaret opens centre in London.' West India Committee Chronicle,
  20. (1955). West Indian Students' Centre'. West India Committee Chronicle,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.