Big Issue founder Lord John Bird of Notting Hill and his wife Lady Parveen were in Norwich on Wednesday to do the Norwich: A Black History tour, led by Tour Guide Paul Dickson and Chairman of Norfolk Black History Month, Danny Keen.
They followed in the footsteps of ‘Norfolk’s Black Prince’, Frederick Duleep Singh and his sister Sophia, who was a leading suffragette. The tour also looked at the role of Norwich and Norfolk in the abolition of slavery movement, notably the work of Thomas Fowell Buxton, Edward Harbord 3rd Lord Suffield, Amelia Opie and Harriet Martineau. There was the story of William Darby (Pablo Fanque), Britain’s first black circus entrepreneur, and the impact of African-American servicemen in World War II and beyond was discussed.
Lord Bird also met up with Big Issue vendor Jim outside Thorns.
Lord Bird said: “The very same streets of Britain where Big Issue vendors work are redolent with Black History. Our institutions, great museums, universities and the British Empire were built on Black History. Equality and diversity will be greatly advanced when all of us are able to appreciate our own Black History that is all around us and beneath our feet.”
For more information about the Norwich: A Black History tour see www.pauldicksontours.co.uk/norwich-a-black-history