COLLECTIONS & RESEARCH

Ethnic Minorities in Dorset

Introduction

Many of us think that ethnic minorities in Dorset are very recent – that Dorset people saw their first black person in the Second World War when black American troops were stationed here. In fact there were Africans in Dorset from the early 17th century, if not earlier. Jews and gypsies have lived in the county for many centuries.

The history of Africans, Jews and gypsies is explored here not because they are of a different ethnicity, but because they are very much part of the history of the area. Their history has not been researched here before. We have had to ignore lots of material on other people – Irish, French, Russian – to keep everything within a reasonable size.

This research, and exhibition, was made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund and grants from the South West Museums & Libraries Council, and the Lyme Regis Development Trust.

The exhibition was written by Jo Draper, from research by Judy Ford; Jo Draper; Louisa Parker; Penny Bartholomew; David Badman; Bob & Frances Eliot; Jenny, Liz & Fred Humphrey and Ann White.

We are grateful to the Dorset Record Office & the Dorset County Library for much help, and to the many people who have helped us with information, photographs and ideas. Much more information can be obtained from the book which can be purchased in the Museum.

Exhibition boards designed by Christopher Chaplin, & Malcolm Yesson of Lam-Art.

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