Active Community Elders Project – Windrush And Beyond

The Active Community Elders (ACE) project is informed by the South African concept of Ubuntu which refers to “human kindness”, that which embodies the idea of connection , community and mutual caring for all.  As an intergenerational history and storytelling project, Active Community Elders is building on the work of the Roots Oral History project which involved men and women from the Windrush generation who are now community elders, some of whom because of isolation is a risk of developing dementia.  In 2013 there was an estimated 25,000 people with dementia from BME communities in England and Wales.This number is expected to grow to nearly 50,0000 by 2026 and over 172,000 by 2051.  The Active Community Elders Community History Project was undertaken in partnership with United Care Group – A Byte to Eat Project.

The images in the following gallery are from a calendar produced by the Active Community Elders – click on any image to see the pictures in a full screen slideshow.  More about the 53 Bus farther down below in the article ‘The Political Masses and the Political Economy of Manchester’ by Ron Phillips.


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‘The Political Masses and the Political Economy of Manchester’
By Ron Phillips (The Black Liberator 1975: 291-299)

Few places demonstrate as clearly as Manchester, the crucial role of black labour power in the development of the productive forces and the political economy of Britain.  If Liverpool and Bristol are associated with the accumulation of profit from the slave trade then Manchester must be given  pride of place in the application of that accumulation to the development of the industrial revolution.  Manchester’s consciousness of black people had therefore from the beginning of its development been connected with its economic life.

Up to and including the 1930’s black settlement in Manchester was concentrated in Cheetham  Hill and some areas of Salford, because of their proximity to the docks…By the 1940’s West Indian service men and a few war production workers had began to appear as well as larger numbers of West African merchant seamen.  The more successful of them  became small business men who were able to contribute to the funding of the 1945 Pan-African Conference.  They were also able  to move their families into the old working class slum of Hulme, where Engels had earlier gathered muchof his materials for his study ofConditions of the Working Class in England .

At the end of the Second  World War,  the  rise of West Indian immigration  to the North  West was signalled by the arrival of ‘Empire Windrush’ at Liverpool.  In common with communities in other cities, Manchester’s blacks  now formed  a replacement population for white workers refusing to do unpalatable or low-wage jobs.  The No 53 bus was contemptuously christened the ‘African Queen’, which was in reference to the fact that thousands of  Manchester’s black workers, travelled to the massive industrial estate of Trafford Park  to badly paid, dirty and dangerous jobs.  Male black workers  were concentrated in low-wage occupations –public transport, cleansing, street production, rubber processing and regeneration of ‘health hazardous jobs – asbestos processing.  At Trafford Park, many black women worked in food production and packaging. Apart  from the manufacture  of rubber goods, light engineering and plastic extrusion, a number of black women made their living  in the clothing trade some parts of which  was notorious  for sweat shop conditions and low wages.