Black Cultural Archives
Black Cultural Archives
4
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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  • Fysty124
    Johnson City, New York56 contributions
    A Must Do for anyone visiting London!
    During our trip to London, we traveled to Brixton because we heard so much about the archives. This visit did not disappoint. We took a guided tour and saw the historical perspective of life as a person of color in London. My daughter and I enjoyed the sound bytes and learned that the struggle is real everywhere! A must do for families and adults alike.
    Written April 11, 2015
  • Y3048NPdavids
    London, United Kingdom778 contributions
    Interesting exhibitions and a pleasant cafe
    We have been here to see the last three exhibitions and have always found it a pleasant place to visit. The exhibitions are small; the current one showcases the careers of five black women who are at the top of their chosen professions and is accompanied by excellent photographic portraits together with inspirational biographical information. We also enjoyed a coffee and excellent soup in a friendly, relaxed and bright environment in the café there.
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 14, 2019
  • Urbancitygirl64
    Chicago, Illinois273 contributions
    Bucklist item for Black Culture!
    It's small and Brixton is a cool place to visit. Even if you stop in, it won't take a lot of your time. I enjoyed the one exhibit while I was there. The food at the cafe was good. I bought things from the gift shop. I'm into Black History so I enjoyed myself. I'm not sure if it holds up if you're expecting a traditional "museum" experience.
    Traveled solo
    Written January 28, 2018
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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PlutonP
Bedford, UK33 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
This beautiful building needs more about black culture, our contirbutions, traditions, black 'firsts' ie inventions, representations, historical achievements etc.

This is supposed to be the 'National' archive but sadly our black culture is still being undervalued! Black people recorded from as far back as roman times are reduced to a single wall of timelines where the information is in a font that anyone with minor visual impairments would struggle to read, the all important dates are in a kind of greyed out font so the date becomes less impactful and almost insignificant where they should be a bold part of the story. The timeline itself snakes back and forward across the wall with some of the content being so low you need to bend or stoop to be able to read it.. Not very accessible!
When our history is reduced to a few pictures and lines of text, we continue to be disenfranchised! This archive is lacking in 'culture' and colour. There are no sights, no sounds, no smells, no visuals. This was more akin to a 'pop up' for an event.
One wall CANNOT define our culture.
Black Cultural Archive; as we would say, time to 'fix' up!
Written March 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John S
London, UK4 contributions
Aug 2014 • Solo
In the turbulent spring of 1981, as the streets of Brixton seethed with rioters and the shops burned, a small group of black artists, activists and teachers met in the midst of the conflict. Their common goal was to create an archive that commemorated and educated people on the forgotten history of black people in Britain and offset the violence with understanding and education.

In 2014 The Archive finally opened its doors, built with a £4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and through a partnership with Lambeth council, the Archive sits in the heart of Brixton, and is only a five minute walk from Brixton tube station, on the Victoria line.

Unfortunately, the Archives only offering for the visitor is a sterile modernist art galley type affair, but without the paintings. There is absolutely nothing for the visitor to view, engage with or enjoy. The Archive is trying to be a creative cultural meeting space for artists, a point of academic reference for archivists interested in the history of Black people in the UK and a community hub that has been fought for and hard won. Unfortunately, it fails miserably in all of the aforementioned. To access the archives you have to book an appointment, there was no artistic endeavor on show, and the cafe was charging 3 pounds for a cup of coffee.

The archive’s first exhibition is Re-imagine: Black Women in Britain (until 30 November), which asks visitors to reconsider some historical narratives and accounts of Black women in Britain. However, all the exhibition provides is black and white re-productions of original photographs of black women. There is little by way of historical or political perspective and a there is a complete absence of any interactive element.

The real problem with the Archive is that it cannot workout what it wants to be. Is it an exhibition space, a cultural archive, a dynamic and vital exhibition space that reflects the rich cultural heritage of black people living in the UK or all three? According to Paul Reid the Archive’s curator the Archive is a permanent home, which ensures “black communities are no longer locked out of the cultural and heritage institutions”. Unfortunately, the Archives is in danger of locking out everyone because it simply fails to deliver anything that is representative of the black experience in the UK.
Written August 14, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Emily E
London82 contributions
Jun 2017 • Solo
Lovely handsome Georgian building in the heart of Brixton which I am pleased has been saved from collapse after years of decay. I just hope there is more to see next time I visit - it just felt like a series of near empty rooms with a small shop and a nice little cafe. I felt the archives were not accessible to people walking in off the street and there were no artefacts on display. There is huge potential for improvement.
Written June 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KittyColbert
London, UK38 contributions
Feb 2017 • Couples
We visited the Black Cultural Archives expecting to see a lot of material relating to the history of black immigration to the UK. We were disappointed at how little there was to see. We could only find one room with a few items to look at. The other rooms seemed to be designated as meeting rooms. This is a shame as the building itself is large and has been beautifully renovated. The cafe was good, serving interesting snacks.
Overall though a very disappointing experience.
Written February 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jenetix76
Broadbeach, Australia159 contributions
Jun 2015 • Couples
Had been wanting to make it down to the BCA since its opening but finally made it in today. We were there just before opening and so were greeted as staff opened the gates for us at 10am sharp.

We were directed to the exhibition room for the "Staying Power" collection. A great exhibition with some beautiful photographs on display, as well as camera's and vintage magazines, amongst other things.

Had a great time in the shop, some fantastic books on sale of interest, at very reasonable prices. Didn't stay for a coffee, but the café - like the rest of what we saw.. was a nice bright and airy space with a modern artsy feel.

Definitely joining up for the mailing list as I am keen to try out some of the public talks, and live events they schedule through the year.
Written June 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

debsmillen66
London, UK492 contributions
Aug 2014 • Family
It was recently the grand opening of the Black Cultural Archives Museum in Brixton, London. The event was marked by numerous entertainers, performer, poets and a huge appreciative crowd.
We had the opportunity to preview the museum, but as the demand to go in was high, we had to wait for over 90 minutes in the queue. However, the weather was fantastic and the music was welcoming to ease the wait.
Inside, we were only allowed to see the first floor which is show casing Black Women in Britain and their roles and achievements. This exhibition will be from July to November 2014. After our brief visit ( we were only allowed 15 mins due to the large queue) the overall feeling was to see more of Black history. Therefore, I returned in August believing that I would have access to the other parts of the building, but was informed that we have to book in advance to see the main archives. I fully understand that some of the material have to be preserved and closely maintained, but I was slightly disappointed with this revelation. However, with the up lifting feeling that I have in regards to this museum, my disappointment did not last for long. At the main reception, you are given an interactive fob key that allows you to listen to many historical stories which will enlighten and educated.

Educational facilities and business will have the opportunity to access and learn about the important roles that Black people had in the past and continue to have in British society today. They will be able to share this knowledge with others.
I am so pleased that the Black Cultural Archives has a permanent home in a beautiful building which is situated in an iconic and vibrant place as Brixton.

Welcome back!
Written October 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Whitehalltraveller
Pinner, UK404 contributions
Sep 2019
After the scandal of the Windrush British commonwealth settlers from the Caribbean hit the news recently, we decided to visit the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. There is only 1 room dedicated to the exhibition on Windrush which I thought was far too small. It did highlight the different immigration acts but there was simply not enough on display. Considering how big a story this is and affects so many people whose parents came over in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, they should be highlighting those cases as they are in the public domain and they are good examples of how people faced an “hostile environment”. They should also be showing on continuous loop the David
Olusoga documentary: “The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files” which explains how the various immigration acts have changed over the years and caught people out. The archives also has another room upstairs which has a timeline of black British history and shows there have been black people in the UK since the Roman times. Do visit Windrush Square as well, a monument to all of the commonwealth soldiers who came over to defend the ‘motherland’. However, I do feel that this monument should be in Whitehall where the 2 other monuments to the First and Second World Wars are permanently on display.
Written September 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Emily J
New York City, NY78 contributions
Jul 2019 • Solo
The Black Cultural Archives website states that it is "the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain." I visited out of a sincere interest about Black migration to and through England throughout history. The Centre, unfortunately is a bit limited.

The gallery is "free" but seemed to consist of a single conference room on the second floor with pictures featuring prominent leaders in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. I couldn't get a clear answer from anyone as to whether this was the entirety of the free gallery. There was also a first floor special "Windrush" exhibit on the first floor that was much more comprehensive than the main gallery and that focused on Black migration from the Caribbean to England in the late 1940s and early 1950s and challenges faced by Brexit and other citizenship laws throughout the last 50 years. Admission to the exhibit cost only £3 and it was a must see.

I wish I could give a higher rating, as this centre seeks to tell an important history, but the presentation was not rounded. I left knowing nothing about Caribbean migration prior to the late 1940s or about those who migrated directly from Africa. I did purchase a copy of "Black and British" by David Olusoga from the gift shop, and anticipate that its 529 pages will provide greater insight. The Centre exhibits did not that it is still in its infancy and seeking sources of funding, that could significantly raise their profile.

I would still recommend seeing the Centre, but combining a visit to the Brixton Market to make a well rounded half day excursion. I would also recommend considering making a donation to the Centre if you are passionate about Afro Caribbean History.
Written July 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Vicsie
Boston, MA101 contributions
Mar 2018 • Solo
I enjoyed the exhibit but know that it is pretty small. You will not spend more than an hour here. The exhibit when I visited was the Family Archive. I enjoyed it very much. I only wish there was more to see.
Written March 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Vanessacalling
London, UK269 contributions
Apr 2017 • Friends
Officially in its new home on Brixton's Windrush Square for just 2 years now is the handsomely renovated archive building alongside its newer sister wing.

It is home to ever changing exhibitions and cultural events and gatherings, as well as playing host to an archive of significant and important documents essential to the preservation and education surrounding Black British heritage. A cafe, book shop and external installations are also located on site.

Its multicultural and multimedia approach means you could experience the visual, musical or sensational on any given trip. Entrance is free, but donations are welcome to help support its continued availability to the public.

It has taken me a while to make the effort to go and see what's currently on offer, but whoever goes down, however well versed or educated - I can guarantee you'll learn something new that you didn't know, if you search hard enough.
Written April 12, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Black Cultural Archives is open:
  • Tue - Sat 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM


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