Collection of the week: The Stephen Bourne Collection
Collection of the week: The Stephen Bourne Collection

Stephen Bourne, a historian and writer specialising in black British heritage and culture, and a founder member of the Black and Asian Studies Association, has amassed a fascinating archive of photographs and ephemera relating to black entertainers and personalities in the worlds of theatre, music, cinema and television.

There are wonderful images of singers and actors such as Elisabeth Welch, Evelyn Dove, Edric Connor and Adelaide Hall, all of whom were immensely popular in Britain in the 1940s onwards. Also significant are photographs recording the life of his adopted aunt, Esther Bruce, a black working class seamstress born in Fulham before the First World War who made dresses for Elisabeth Welch in the 1930s.

With material spanning the social spectrum, Stephen's collection is an important indicator of the presence, influence and integration of black people in Britain at all levels of society, both before and after Windrush.

You can view these compelling images here. If you can't find what you're looking for or would like to discuss a project, drop us a line at or phone 020 8318 0034.

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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