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October marks Black History Month, a chance to learn about and celebrate the history, achievements and contributions of Black people in the UK. 

Activities and Events in the City of London during Black History Month include the following:

1) The World Reimagined

Until 31 October | Free | across the City

Discover The World Reimagined, a unique outdoor sculpture trail on the streets of the City of London and take a journey of discovery to explore the many layers of our shared history, and how we can make racial justice a reality. This free trail features 10 globe sculptures, and stretches from Bank, through to St Paul’s Cathedral, Guildhall, and towards Aldgate.

Collect a printed trail map of The World Reimagined globes from the City Information Centre near St Paul's Cathedral, from Guildhall West Wing Reception, or from one of the Community Libraries within the City of London (Barbican, Artizan Street, Shoe Lane).

Additional smaller Community globes created by local schools are on display inside Barbican Library (from 1 October) and Shoe Lane library (from 10 October). 

2) NEW! This is England - portraits of the England Men's Football Team

20 October - 19 February | Free | Guildhall Art Gallery

This free exhibition of Matt Small’s portraits celebrates the diversity of what it means to be English today. It features the entire EURO 2020 Squad from Captain Harry Kane, Manager Gareth Southgate, existing established players like Marcus Rashford, and London's own stars including Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho.

This is England depicts a group of players from a diverse set of backgrounds who made history with their sporting achievements and their ability to engage the nation, and the team inspired through their example and stance on equality and social and racial injustice.

3) London's Black History

Throughout October | Free | Museum of London

Learn about London’s Black History throughout the museum and find out what's on - including a special Black history programme which spotlights stories of Black women in London with workshops on 15 and 22 October.

In addition, the Museum of London Visitor Experience team will be delivering a series of short talks, tours and poetry readings throughout the month, highlighting fascinating individuals and histories, including Dido Belle, Mary Seacole, Windrush stories, the Brixton riots, Punk and more.

4) Exhibition: Grime Stories - from the corner to the mainstream

Daily until 4 December | Free | Museum of London

Visit the Grime Stories display honouring the music, people and places central to the grime scene and its roots in East London. Co-curated by one of the first cameramen of grime, Roony 'RiskyRoadz’ Keefe, Grime Stories includes a panoramic illustration by artist Willkay, grime pioneer Jammer, and footage featuring Skepta and DJ Slimzee.

5) Exhibition: Slavery and the Bank 

Mondays to Fridays until April 2023 | Free | Bank of England Museum

Explore the history of transatlantic slavery through its connections with the Bank of England in the Museum's exhibition, reflecting on how the wealth created through transatlantic slavery shaped the development of Britain.

6) Curator-led tours of Slavery & the Bank exhibition

Weekly throughout October | Free | Bank of England Museum

  • Friday 7 October at 12noon
  • Monday 10 October at 12noon
  • Thursday 20 October at 12noon
  • Thursday 27 October at 12noon
  • Monday 31 October at 12noon

Find out more about the free lunchtime curator-led tours

7) Saturday Lunchtime Talks at Dr Johnson’s House

Saturdays in October, 1pm | included in admission

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence. It is also 270 years since Francis Barber, himself a Jamaican and formerly enslaved person, joined the household of Dr Samuel Johnson as a servant and subsequently became Johnson’s heir. To commemorate this, Dr Johnson’s House will be giving lunchtime talks on the remarkable life of Francis Barber and the world in which he lived.

  • Saturday 1 October at 1pm
  • Saturday 8 October at 1pm
  • (Please note: closed to the public on 15 October)
  • Saturday 22 October at 1pm
  • Saturday 29 October at 1pm

Find out more about Dr Johnson's House

8) Second Saturday: Family Activities at Guildhall Art Gallery

Saturday 8 October | Free | Guildhall Art Gallery

This coming Second Saturday there's a whole host of activities at Guildhall Art Gallery for you and your little ones. Explore Black artists and sitters, join the storytelling session, and create your own version of The World Reimagined globes.

We suggest you make a day of it and attend all the sessions, but if it suits you better you can drop in and out. This event is for children aged 3-13 and their families. The activities are free, but booking is advised.

9) The Golden Key

Saturday 15 October | Free | Across the City

The Golden Key is a spectacular one-of-a-kind immersive event inspired by the stories of the Square Mile, and features a range of performers including:

  • Experience Fubunation and Waddah Sinada's new solo work - within the Guildhall Fair.
  • Enjoy Artistry Youth Dance in Guildhall Art Gallery - a London based dance company that supports young people of African and Caribbean heritage.
  • Hear Grupo Lokito create a modern-day cocktail of two of the great world musics at St Paul's Fair; fusing blistering contemporary Congolese grooves with the fire of Cuban music.

Plus: Explore the story of celebrated African-American poet, Phillis Wheatley, as she visits London for the first time - find her in one of the Maze adventures within The Golden Key.

10) Workshops: Paving the way: Black women in London from 1500 – 1999 

15 and 22 October | Free - but booking required | Museum of London

Join a special Black history programme spotlighting stories of Black women in London. Museum of London are collaborating with The Heritage & Honour Collection; a creative social enterprise documenting and collecting content on Black British Female History from 1500-1999. Producer and Founder Winnie Imara will be running adult and family workshops on two Saturdays in October (see below for details).

  • A workshop for adults - with a presentation by Winnie Imara, on London-based Black women from history, a discussion about the women featured, and a creative writing workshop inspired by the presentation.
  • A workshop for families, telling the story of London-based Black women from history, followed by an arts and crafts activity 

11) Talk: After Hours - London's Black artists, 1980 - present day

Wednesday 19 October, 6.30pm | £ | Booking required | Museum of London

Join Senior Curator Francis Marshall for an after-hours gallery talk to explore the work of Black artists working in London from the 1980s to the present day.

12) Pop Up Africa Market

Wednesday 19 October, 11.30am - 3pm | New Street Square

A one-day market to celebrate Black History Month, showcasing a wide range of fantastic black owned businesses. Featuring produce and cuisine from across Africa. Everything from food and drink, art, literature and clothing, to handcrafted dolls, instruments and interior decor. 

Hosted by Fleet Street Quarter and Land Securities Group, in partnership with Pop Up Africa.

13) Museum Late: Slavery & the Bank

Thursday 20 October, 5-8pm | Free | Bank of England Museum

This Black History Month, join an evening opening focusing on the exhibition Slavery & the Bank. Featuring a curator-led tour of the exhibition and the chance to see the original archival documents which contributed to the exhibition.

Find out more about the Bank of England Museum Late

14) Talk: The Bank of England and Transatlantic Slavery, 1694-1888

Thursday 20 October, 6-7pm | Free but booking required | Bank of England Museum

Join Dr Michael Bennett, exhibition researcher for Slavery & the Bank, for a free talk exploring the Bank of England’s links to transatlantic slavery between the 1600s and 1800s, which informed the development of our exhibition, Slavery & the Bank. The talk is free but registration is essential.

15) Walking Tour: Journey of Discovery with The World Reimagined

Saturday 22 October, 1.30-3.30pm | Free but booking required | Across the City

The World Reimagined invites you to go on a Journey of Discovery through our shared history, present and future. Each of the Globes speaks to one of the nine themes of the Journey of Discovery – ranging from Mother Africa through The Reality of Being Enslaved and Echoes in the Present – which give us the opportunity to reimagine our past, present and future. 

This free guided walking tour is designed to be thought provoking and will take you through the streets and alleys of the City of London to explore and uncover some of the historical involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

16) Family Fun: Follow the Flame!

25-27 October | Free | Museum of London

Join Big Wheel Theatre Company for a free, family friendly, fun interactive journey through London's Black sporting history. Follow the Olympic torch bearer as she tells tales of both famous and lesser-known sporting heroes including Walter Tull, Alice Coachman and Mo Farah. This is a promenade-style performance with stops throughout the museum's lower galleries.

16) Exhibition: Black British Dynasties in Music - A Family Affair

27 October 2022 – 25 January 2023 | Free | Barbican Music Library

Find out more about the huge contribution made to music and culture by Black British musical families. This free exhibition is curated by the Black Music Coalition, which represents Black music executives and professionals, and was established in 2020 to challenge and raise awareness of racism affecting Black executives and professionals in the UK music industry.

Come and see specially commissioned photographs of the featured families, and listen to exclusive interviews with the subjects conducted by Capital Xtra DJ and presenter, Robert Bruce. 

17) Event: Francis Barber - Slavery and Celebrity in Eighteenth-Century London

Friday 28 October, 7pm | £ | Book tickets | Dr Johnson's House

The existence of a vibrant black community in eighteenth-century London has long been known. This talk will explore the life of one member of that community, Francis Barber. How did a boy who had been born into slavery in Jamaica become part of the Gough Square household of Samuel Johnson, the most celebrated man of letters of the age? What can we know about his life, and what is his legacy? The speaker, Michael Bundock, is a barrister, a Director of Dr Johnson's House Trust, and an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of English Language and Literature at University College London. He is the author of The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The True Story of the Enslaved Jamaican Who Became Samuel Johnson's Heir.

18) Concert: André J Thomas - Symphonic Gospel

Sunday 30 October, 7pm | £ | Barbican Hall

Hear the enlivening power of gospel music as André J Thomas curates a performance for Black History Month UK, bringing together 200+ voices and the symphonic sound of the London Symphony Orchestra. With MOBO award-winning gospel singer Lurine Cato, Christian Mark Gibbs, the London Community Gospel Choir and more. Tickets on sale now.

LSO Associate Artist André J Thomas is one of the world’s greatest experts in gospel and choral music. ‘Black history is always tied with expression through art, that is, a cultural sharing and a remembrance of the journey of people of African-American descent’ explains Thomas. He takes us through the swinging rhythms of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s festive overture, to the uplifting narrative and gentle harmonies of Nathaniel Dett’s The Chariot Jubilee, based on African-American spirituals and folk songs. But this concert is as much about looking to the future, with music by icons of the US gospel scene celebrating good news and giving a message of hope for the future.