Date posted 25 Sep 2020

October is Black History Month – Wandsworth Council and Wandsworth Libraries are proud to mark this annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK with a series of events and activities.

This year events and activities will be streamed online on the Wandsworth Libraries Facebook page and YouTube.


Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest library news and events; find us @wandsworthlibs


Thursday 1st October

Meet the Author of This Lovely City
Louise Hare
Watch at
This debut novel is set in the wake of the Blitz and a London reeling from war. Jazz musician Lawrie arrives on the Windrush having answered England’s call for help, playing music by night and being a postman by day. One morning he makes a terrible discovery, and before long the new arrivals find themselves prime suspects in a tragedy which could rip the capital asunder. Louise is a London based author and the capital is the inspiration for much of her work. This Lovely City began life after a trip into the deep-level shelter below Clapham Common. Many scenes within the book take place around Brixton, Clapham and Clapham Junction which are familiar to us today and many of the race issues within the book resonant.

Meet the author of If Only Hair Could Talk
Lorna Jones
Watch at
Lorna says, "I imagined that if my hair could talk, what it would have said to me during a time when I experienced hair loss. You see, I believe your hair generally speaks to you, quietly, and tells you what it needs and what it wants. You only have to pay attention to it, to understand what it is saying. For the purposes of this book, I have given my hair the superpower ability to allow it to speak out loud".

Black Heritage Trails at the V&A Museum
Watch at
See the trail at 
Avril Horsford, one of the African Heritage Gallery Guides for the V&A Museum, explores the traumatic history that connects Britain and the Caribbean, resulting from the lucrative and brutal trade in enslaved Africans, taken to work on sugar plantations in the 17th century.  Selecting objects from her Caribbean-themed online trail at the V&A, Avril discusses the life of the individuals featured on the trail, focusing on their historical journeys to Britain, and linked by their desire to acquire a British education, and what their life was like, on arrival.  Avril is a local Putney resident. She has had a career as a senior educator, lecturing and heading academic subjects relating to art and design, in universities and colleges in London.'

Black Women Musicians
Patrick Malone
Find Patrick's daily selection at
Join Patrick to explore Freegal, the library’s own free music-streaming service, and learn about some incredible Black British Female musicians in the process

Friday 2nd October

3pm Tales from the African World
Heather Shepherd
Watch at
Join Heather the Tooting Children's Librarian for some incredible tales from all around the African world

Saturday 3rd October

Black Lives Matter – An Anti-racist reading list
Lucinda Murray
Watch at
We might need to talk about race, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Join Lucinda to discover some amazing new affirming and anti-racist books for readers and learners of all ages.

Monday 5th October

Tracing your African Caribbean Ancestry
Dr Kathleen Chater
Watch at
It is often assumed that it is difficult or impossible to research Black ancestors in the former British colonies in the Caribbean. However there are many records in this country and increasingly online that can enable people to trace their family history.
Dr Kathleen Chater worked for the BBC until 1994. One of her interests was family history so when she left she became self-employed as an author on aspects of history and also as a trainer in research skills for the media and family historians.

Scavenger Hunt
Lucinda Murray
What books can you find in the library and the library catalogue? Who do you see on the shelves? Challenge yourselves to a tricky scavenger hunt and try to find all the books on Lucinda’s list by Saturday evening, to be entered into an amazing prize draw…

Tuesday 6th October, 3pm

Windrush Storytime
Kate Stevens
Watch at
Discover the history of the Windrush generation in this wonderful storytime with Kate

Lulu loves the Library
Lucinda Murray
Watch at
Join Lucinda for a special Libraries Week and Black History Month storytime featuring everyone’s favourite book lover – Lulu!

Wednesday 7th October

London’s Great Women of Colour
Joyce Fraser
Watch at 
A showcasing of many inspiring, influential and pioneering women who have contributed to the life of London.

Thursday 8th October

Black women entrepreneurs and turning your passion into your business
Loretta Awuah
Watch a recording of the meeting at
The talk will explore examples of black entrepreneurs across the diaspora, including Madam C J Walker and their motivations for creating the products or services they did and the impact this made on their respective societies. The second part of the session will involve exploring people’s own business ideas and learnings they can take from Madam C.J. Walker’s journey to building her business. Loretta is part of the SiLL project (Start ups in London Libraries) and will also explain how you can benefit from this.

Friday 9th October

John Archer: An Illustrated Talk
Sean Creighton
Watch at
Celebrating John Archer (1863 – 1932) the British politician and political activist. In 1913 he was elected Mayor of Battersea, becoming the first black mayor in London. He was a notable Pan-Africanist and the founding president of the African Progress Union.

Saturday 10th October

Black Excellence Book Talk
Lucinda Murray
Watch at
Black Lives Matter – and Black stories matter too. Find your new favourite book from the library today, and explore Black Excellence and Black Joy in all its formats.

Monday 12th

Carolyn Dineen
Instructions at
Learn to play the amazing game of Oware; then make your own board and challenge a family member to a match

Tuesday 13th

Recycled Art inspired by African traditions.
Jacqueline Mwanza
Watch at
Join Ubuntu Museum on an exploration of some of Africa's traditions of creating art from recycled materials and found objects. We will have a brief look at the work of the world renowned Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui, who makes huge sculptures from recycled bottle tops and will also be sharing our collection of art and crafts pieces made by other African creatives. Suitable for all ages, 6+

Kente Story Time and Craft
Carolyn Dineen
Watch at
Listen to a story and design your own Kente cloth with Carolyn 

Friday 16th October

Wangari’s Trees of Peace
Heather Shepherd
Watch at
Wangari sows the seed. Story, talk and Craft on Wangari Maathai featuring the books Wangari’s trees of peace.

Monday 19th October

Deep Roots… Exploring Black Britons in Ancient History
Heather Shepherd
Watch at
History might seem all white on the TV, but a closer look suggests something a bit different. Join Heather to looking more closely at ‘Cheddar Man’, Beachy Head Woman, and the Roman North African regiments in Briton for this online workshop

Tuesday 20th October, 6-9pm

Exploring the legacies: Dame Jocelyn Barrow & other inspirational African British Women
Book a free place
History consultant Kwaku will through the use of his ‘What They Said I Should Be: The Story of African British Female Movers & Shakers' DVD and other film footage highlight the work of a number of women, and give the audience an opportunity to explore their legacies. This presentation is in memory of our sheroes, particularly Dame Jocelyn Barrow, Jessica Huntley, and Claudia Jones. Kwaku is an author/editor of a number of books, educator specialising in black music and African British history, editor of
A family-friendly event.

Jazz Music Story Time
Patrick Malone
Watch at 
Explore the history of jazz and Black jazz artists in this musical storytime with Patrick

Wednesday 21st October, 6-7pm

A virtual tour of 575 Wandsworth Road
Presented by Wandsworth Council and National Trust
Ticket booking link
575 Wandsworth Road is a small house on a busy London street with a magical secret. Kenyan-born British civil servant and poet, Khadambi Asalache (1935-2006), hand-carved almost every surface of the interior of his home using reclaimed wood – turning this house into a work of art over a period of twenty years. The property is now in the care of the National Trust conservation charity whose mission is to look after special places ‘For Everyone, Forever’.
Since lockdown the house has been closed to visitors, but the team have found new and creative ways to open up access and share the story of the house and its owner Mr Asalache as a celebration of Black British culture and the power of the human endeavour.
So grab a drink and make yourself comfortable for a virtual exploration of a key piece of modern heritage right on your doorstep. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
This event is part of Wandsworth Council’s Black History Month programme. Tickets are limited.
This event will be hosted on zoom. Ticket bookers require a zoom account. Only one ticket is required per device. Multiple people can watch from the same device (where they are in same household bubble). 

Friday 23rd

Black entertainers on the Victorian stage
Dr Kathleen Chater
Watch at
In the 19th century an astonishing number of black entertainers appeared on stage, in concert halls, in churches and in music halls over Britain. They included actors, singers, circus performers and others who changed career, like a fugitive slave who became a magician, a boxer who turned to acting and a factory hand who became an actress. Their stories are little-known but show more about the rich history of black performers in Britain. Dr Kathleen Chater worked for the BBC until 1994. One of her interests was family history so when she left she became self-employed as an author on aspects of history and also as a trainer in research skills for the media and family historians.

Black STEM Storytime
Lucinda Murray
Storytime and activity session exploring the amazing history and achievements of Black people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Saturday 24th October, 1-6pm

Book Love Online Mini Festival with Samantha Williams
Samantha Williams, Lucinda Murray
Free booking at
This year’s Book Love Festival at Balham Library is a must for all book lovers and is coming to you live in your own home! Featuring interviews, activities and more, it’s your chance to hear about amazing new stories and incredible writers, meet Samantha Williams, and celebrate some of the brilliant Black writers around today.

29th October, 10am

Swahili-English Rhyme Time
Heather Shepherd and Abdul Bah
Watch at

Half an hour of bilingual songs and rhymes in Swahili and English for families and young people around the world

Friday 30th October

Amazing Anna Hibiscus
Heather Shepherd
Watch at

Join Heather for stories about Atinuke’s incredible Anna Hibiscus and her life in Africa – amazing Africa.

Children's Events: Date to be Confirmed 

Wandsworth Children's Librarian's are contributing to Black History Month with the following online events. Dates will be added as soon as they can be confirmed.


Black History Month Book Quiz
Lucinda Murray
Whether you’re a fan of THUG, are mad about Malorie Blackman, or are amazed by aya Angelou, this event is for you. Join Lucinda and test your knowledge of some of the best Black writers and writing available for young people today