About Black Cultural Archives

Established in 1981 and situated in its iconic building in Brixton’s Windrush Square since 2014, Black Cultural Archives (BCA) is the only national repository of Black history and culture in the UK. We are a public institution open to everyone.

Our unparalleled and growing archive collection offers insight into the history of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain. Our work recognises the importance of untold stories and providing a platform to encourage enquiry and dialogue. We place people and their historical accounts at the heart of everything we do.




    Our mission


    Black Cultural Archives is a national institution dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of diverse people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain.

    Using our unique collection, we promote the teaching, learning and understanding of the African people’s contribution, which enables the public to learn and connect with hidden histories, creating an experience to uplift and inspire. This is achieved through our exhibitions, public programmes and events. Our growing collection of original archives constitute a permanent record of the richness of the Black experience in Britain and is accessible to all.


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    Heritage Centre

    Our new heritage centre is located on Windrush Square, in the heart of Brixton. Steeped in history, Windrush Square is historically named after the SS Empire Windrush, which docked in Tilbury in 1948 carrying her passengers on their pioneering journey from Jamaica to Britain.

    We have transformed Raleigh Hall, a Grade II listed Georgian building in central Brixton, into a space dedicated to preserving and celebrating Black heritage in Britain. The £7-million capital project restored aspects of the building’s original historic features, in addition to a newly designed annexe to create a purpose-built archive and heritage centre accessible to the public.

    We have received tremendous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the London Borough of Lambeth, the Mayor of London and the Biffa Award to complete this capital project, and from all our funders and supporters who help us continue our work.

    Our facilities include:

    • Exhibition space

    • Research facilities including reading room and reference library

    • Dedicated spaces for informal and formal learning

    • Secure and environmentally controlled archive strong room compliant with the British standard 5454:2000 allowing us to continue to safeguard our collection for future generations

    • Café and shop

    • Courtyard for outdoor eating and special events

    • Spaces for events, seminars, meetings and community use



    Volunteering with us is a fantastic opportunity to get involved and support a national cultural organisation in the heart of Brixton. We need your help to ensure our visitors receive a warm welcome and have an enjoyable lasting experience.

    Volunteer roles available:

    Please complete the Volunteer Application to register your interest


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    Working in Partnership

    We work in collaboration with other cultural organisations and businesses, large or small, national or international, to bring historical accuracy to important projects. Through partnership, we have been able to champion a more accurate vision of history across every cultural touch-point at our disposal.

    We have collaborated with a large number of organisations to produce a variety exhibitions, events and learning resources.  We also continue to expand our collection through the donation of oral histories and archive materials. 

    Some of our previous partnerships include the V&A, Google Cultural Institute, Photofusion – UK Black Panther movement, Zimbabwe Association 12 Year Project, Paddington Arts – Elimu Carnival band, Lambeth School Cluster Project – The Other Georgians and the Black Dance Archives with National Resource Centre for DanceUniversity of Leeds, and State of Emergency.  

    If you are interested in discussing a partnership or project with us, please complete a project submission form and email our Visitor Services team reception@bcaheritage.org.uk.We are currently no longer accepting partnership projects for 2017. We are open to partnership from late 2018 onwards. We meet quarterly to discuss any new projects/partnerships, so please allow time for a reply.

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    Venue Hire

    Are you planning a conference, a company away day, a book or product launch, a community workshop or a very special celebration?

    Why not use the venue space in Black Cultural Archive’s beautiful Grade II listed building on Brixton’s iconic Windrush Square?

    Depending on the time and the day, you can choose our Learning Centre, Board Room, Café and Courtyard or take over the entire building.

    With capacity from 10 to over 150, BCA is an ideal space for a meeting or a reception. We offer Technical and AV support with projects, screens and PA systems as well as WIFI connectivity.

    Catering is provided by our licensed Café and we can offer a bespoke catering service from our roster of highly recommended chefs. We can do everything from a simple sandwich lunch for a staff meeting to a children’s birthday party or a 6 course wedding reception for 100 guests.

    To book your event, send your enquiry to roomhires@bcaheritage.org.uk. You will receive a reply from us within 24 hours.


    Shop Pop-Ups

    Are you an artisan or a retail entrepreneur who celebrates African and Caribbean culture, heritage or history? Why not take advantage of Black Cultural Archive’s iconic heritage centre in Brixton’s Windrush Square to showcase your work.  BCA’s shop, strategically located at the entrance of this beautiful building, would be a perfect backdrop for you and your brand. 

    We are inviting applications for a 1 day for £50/day (ex VAT) or 1 week (5 days from Tuesday to Saturday) pop up residency for £200/week (ex VAT) in our 22sqm shop. The shop primarily features books but there is also a limited amount of jewellery and BCA merchandise on sale.

    Pop up vendors will have a 7sqm location in front of the shop’s attractive arched windows. There is a café and toilet facilities for customers.

    You must bring your own stand/table and point of sale materials as well as conduct your own sales and marketing effort.  BCA may provide social media promotional support and include mention of your pop up in their digital marketing if your residency coincides with our marketing schedule. 

    Please send us your enquiry. You will receive a reply from us within 24 hours. (enquiry form to go to roomhires@bcaheritage.org.uk)




    BCA Team

    Arike Oke  
    Managing Director

    Karis Morris-Brown
    Volunteer Manager

    Hannah Ishmael

    Ayshah Johnston

    Michael Williams
    Commercial and Audience
    Experience Manager

    Kelly Morgan
    Windrush 2019 Co-ordinator

    For press enquiries please contact marketing@bcaheritage.org.uk
    or 020 3757 8500

    Board of Trustees

    Dawn Hill

    Okao Angole

    Prof Hakim Adi

    Olakunle Babarinde     

    Jennie Baptiste

    Adam Crymble

    Katie Dash

    Caroline Hussey-Bain

    Stafford Geohagen  

    Sharmaine Lovegrove

    Harun Morrison

    Maureen Roberts  

    Rukayah Sarumi                                

    Cllr. Jacqui Dyer
    Lambeth Council representative

    Cllr. Sonia Winifred
    Lambeth Council representative

    Development Board

    Patricia Hamzahee

    Olakunle Babarinde                

    Dr Charlie Easmon            

    Charlotte Evans

    Leroy Lawrence

    Dr Patricia Kingori

    Anthony Simpson             

    Trevor Williams                  

    Neil Kenlock  

    Paul Cleal     


    Dame Jocelyn Barrow     

    Lord Paul Boateng            

    Miranda Brawn

    Chuka Umunna MP         

    Sir Willard White OM OBE             

    Idris Elba               

    Colin Jackson CBE             

    Benjamin Zephaniah       

    Kwame Kwei-Armah        

    Marie Garrison


    Our Supporters

    The establishment of our landmark building at 1 Windrush Square was made possible by initial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Lambeth, and with support from numerous charitable trusts, sponsors and individuals.

    The BCA volunteers and Friends make an invaluable contribution to our work.

    We would like to thank the following: