The Black London e-Monograph Series

By Thomas L Blair © 27-09-13

Prof Thomas L B;lair addressing the Oxford University Student Union 2001
Prof Thomas L Blair, editor of, addressing the Oxford University Students Union, 2001

Researching Black London is my passion. Current titles range from the first African and Caribbean settlers in 18th century Georgian times to today’s aspiring urbanites.

Black London eMonograph series, imprint of Editions Blair

The Black London eMonograph series adds an urban focus on Britain’s minorities. It timelines their progress through immigration, settlement, assimilation and mobility.


The series is the first-ever continuous study of African and Caribbean peoples in the nation’s capital. It encourages awareness of a crucial fact: Black Africans and Caribbean people have lived in Britain’s capital for centuries. Generations have shared the bed and board, the life styles, cultural tastes, accents and food habits – “Fancy a pie and mash, mate?) — and, indeed, “africanised” the DNA coils of their white neighbours.

Compiled from decades of academic research, from the Sixties to the present, the Black London eMonograph Series is a boon to educators, policy makers and problem-solvers. See


The Black London eMonograph series charts my passion for researching the assimilation and mobility of African and Caribbean peoples in urban Britain.


I have applied my own method — the social problems-intervention-solutions approach — to reveal the spaces between dogma, certitude and debate about the Black Experience.


Thus, readers can identify and analyse the monograph elements — the arguments, methodology and sources.


If my motive and means challenge conventional wisdom, the answer is “How better to use past research to understand the present and plan for positive futures for a beleaguered people?”

The building blocks

The opening monograph, the Shaping of Black London, is a timeline of Black London’s origins, problems and prospects. Further titles range from the first Black settlers in the 18th century to today’s denizens of the metropolis.

They build on my decades of research on race, city planning and policy issues in the public realm. This averts the danger of unmediated reference to reality and the facts.

Together, they offer reliable opinion and information about Black London communities over past decades, a boon to academics, professionals and problem-solvers like myself.

Furthermore, the Black London eMonograph series expands the availability of my free researched based electronic texts.

 Why the Series matters

These never before published eMonographs matter because:

  • They chart the transformation of ex-colonial Black peoples to metropolitan urbanites,
  • They seek to inform, educate and inspire regenerative action
  • They point to shared identities within diversity
  • They help fight negrophobia and enlarge our view of Black humanity


They are in large part research based enquiries

They build on decades of research on race, city planning and policy issues in the public realm. Hence, they meet urgent needs in three respects:

  • To highlight urban issues, past and present, that are important to Black Londoners;
  • To focus attention on online activism in areas outside formal political participation;
  • To harness the new digital technologies that can help information-poor Black communities.

Together, they offer reliable opinion and information about Black London communities over more than five decades, a boon to problem-solvers as well as praise-singers.

 Series titles include

The city as a ‘race’ problem charts the entry and formation of Black London’

High rise, hard living: on being Black in London’s tower blocks demonstrates the plight of Black a low-income families.1960s high-rise municipal housing.

Before London: coping with freedom and its discontents shows how the freed Black peoples built new lives in Caribbean cities following emancipation in 1883/84.

A travelling people: Caribbean migration on the verge of departure to Great Britain deals with life before establishing major outposts in Britain in the 20th century.

The Overseas Afro-Asian Students in London 1963 were firsto plant the newfound spirit of Afro-Asian independence in to London’s colleges, housing and social services. In the process, as this e-Monograph survey reports, these dark strangers pioneered two of the most important 20th century struggles.

Developing communities and leadership roles

Furthermore, The Black London eMonograph series builds on my city planning and urban renewal studies. They cover community development issues since the sixties, including:

1968 The Tiers Monde in the City: A study of the effects of  Housing and Environment on Immigrant Workers and their Families in Stockwell, London, Department of Tropical Studies, the Architectural Association, School of Architecture, Bedford Square, London.

1972. The City Poverty Committee. To Make A Common Future. Notting Hill, London. Circa 1972

1978 PCL-Habitat Forum, The Condition of England Question. Papers and Proceedings. Edited by Dr Thomas L Blair, Professor of Social and Environmental Planning, Polytechnic of Central London, 1st volume in series 1978

1989. Information Base Report on Ethnic Minorities in London Docklands. Full Employ/LDDC Project.

1996. Area-based projects in districts of high immigrant concentration. By Thomas L Blair and Edward D Hulsbergen, Consultants. Community Relations, Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, Council of Europe 1996. ISBN 92-871-3179-1. French edition: Projets de quartier dans les zones à forte concentration d’immigrés. ISBN 92-871-3178-3

1997. The Unquiet Zone: Planning Innovative Renewal in Post-war Social Housing Areas of Black and Ethnic Minority Concentration in Inner London. Submitted and accepted as a Master of Arts in Urban Studies degree. Goldsmiths College. University of London. 1997.

Shaping the past, making the future
The Black London eMonograph series complements the Editions Blair cyber-action for change eBooks, The eBooks restate academic research in the voices of dissent. Taken together, they summon readers to informed action in community and the public realm.

Notes on the Author

Thomas L Blair, PhD, FRSA, writes on the creative renewal of Black people in urban society. The current Black London monographs reflect his interests. Lecture notes, readings and essay questions, developed while gaining an MA and Urban Studies Fellowship at Goldsmiths College, University of London in the 1990s, evolved into material for the eMonograph series. He is well-known as publisher of Editions Blair series, and edits the pioneering Black Experience web sites since 1997, and


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