This portrait photograph below was taken at the studios of Sunley and Toogood, 10 Caroline Place, Hull. It highlights the small, yet often forgotten, Black population that had resided in Hull since the Tudor era. The clothing suggests that this was a poorer resident, but it is interesting that he was photographed so far from the dock area, where so many Black seafarers lived while ashore. At sea, most of Hull’s early Black population worked as seafarers rated as cooks or donkeymen (stokers) but being on shore provided them with an opportunity to purchase photographs to send to loved ones living locally or further afield. It is possible to date the photograph because the company only operated at the address for a short period of time. The image is from the collection of Dr Nicholas Evans at the University of Hull. Dr Evans added: “The photograph is the earliest of a member of Hull’s black community and we would love to know who this image is of.”
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Dr Lauren Darwin
African Stories Project Researcher.