Social Justice. Equality. Enterprise.

Black History and Anti-Slavery movement in Cumbria


Source: AWAZ Cumbria

Chair - . Marcia Reid Fotheringham, JP, DL . (Patron AWAZ Cumbria)

Cumbria has a history of Black people since 3AD to the present day. To celebrate Black History Month we have two Researchers who have researceh Black History in Cumbria:

Ray Greenhow – Author of the book ‘Britain’s First Black Policeman, The Life of John Kent, a Police Officer in Cumberland, 1835 – 1846’

On continuing to research any African references to Cumberland he came across details of several anti-slavery matters centred on the shores of Ullswater, near Pooley Bridge and am currently trying to pull these accounts together.


Ray Greenhow 64 years old, born at Workington and now lives west of Carlisle.

I discovered a story of a police officer called James Armstrong, who died on duty falling 700 feet from Clough Head on 30th September 1847. On researching James’s life, I realised he had worked in Maryport with the Nation’s first black police officer, John Kent, in 1835. I decided to research John’s life and had a local history book published called ‘Britain’s First Black Policeman, The Life of John Kent, a Police Officer in Cumberland, 1835 – 1846’. John was the son of Thomas, who was ‘regarded as a slave’ by the Senhouse family at Calder Abbey and had entered the country at Whitehaven. He had been released ‘on account of his good conduct’, and eventually married and settled in the Carlisle/Low Heskett area of the county.


Cathy Stubbs

Reflecting on stories we researched as part of our Hidden Heroes Project, we will introduce one of the most distinguished British Cavalry Officers of the First World War and discuss his links to Carlisle and his family’s experiences of injustice, slavery, and success.


Cathy has been with AWAZ Cumbria for over seven years. A graduate of Northumbria University, she holds a BA (Hons) degree in History & Sociology. Prior to that, she persued a career as a mental health nurse.

Cathy's projects with AWAZ Cumbria deliver successful community education workshops and interactive, academically researched exhibitions with the ultimate aim of bringing communities and people together to celebrate their shared heritage. A passionate believer in equality, she engages with a variety of organisations and stakeholders to achieve the core aims of our organisation.

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