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Case Studies

12 Black and Asian Londoners give a piece of history to our local museums

From the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames

Kingston's Chief Superintendent, Jeffrey Brathwaite, is one of 12 Black and Asian Londoners who are encouraging people from every community to use London's impressive network of local history museums to record, reflect, explore and celebrate their own place in the heritage of our ever changing world city.

Local Heroes is a London Museums Agency initiative supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  It brings together 12 local museums including Kingston in an exhibition and a programme of events that remind us that all Londoners have a part to play in making and shaping our capital's history.  As part of the project each of the 12 has invited a local individual to donate a single object to the museum collection, and to put on record the story of their own life and work.

All 12 objects feature in the Local Heroes launch exhibition hosted by the Greater London Authority at City Hall between 21st July and 19th August 2003.

The objects on view reflect an intimate personal choice:  Jeffrey Brathwaite has chosen his Racial and Violent Crime Task Force basball cap, David Lammy MP for Tottenham has donated a copy of his Maiden Speech to the House of Commons in July 2000, outlining his long term relationship with the Borough of Haringey and his aspirations for the future; Sarah Victor, who was an inspiration for the film Bend it like Beckham and plays for Brentford Women's Football Club, has donated a pair of football boots.  Her commitment to Local Heroes reflects the consensus of all the participants:  I don't think Asian people associate themselves with museums.  They don't realise that one day the Asian community's going to be in local history...that needs to be told to them-that you can be part of it.

Chief Superintendent Jeffrey Brathwaite is the Borough Commander of Kingston Metropolitan Police.  Currently he is the only Black Borough Commander in London.  He was born in Congo Road, Barbados, came to England in 1968 and decided to become a police officer after a period of racial incidents in 1974.  Jefferey Brathwaite has contributed his Racial & Violent Crime baseball cap to the project.  It will be on display in City Hall and later at Kingston Museum.