50 Years Of The London Boroughs: Diversity And Equalities

By Londonist Staff Last edited 37 months ago
50 Years Of The London Boroughs: Diversity And Equalities
LB Tower Hamlets, commemoration of Altab Ali Day at Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel, 2014 (London Borough of Tower Hamlets courtesy of Ansar Ahmed Ullah)
LB Tower Hamlets, commemoration of Altab Ali Day at Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel, 2014 (London Borough of Tower Hamlets courtesy of Ansar Ahmed Ullah)
LB Tower Hamlets, Somali Day Centre users playing chess, early 1990s (© London Borough of Tower Hamlets)
LB Tower Hamlets, Somali Day Centre users playing chess, early 1990s (© London Borough of Tower Hamlets)
LB Enfield, multi-lingual street sign, 2013 (Enfield Council)
LB Enfield, multi-lingual street sign, 2013 (Enfield Council)
LB Islington, Chinese Association, 1996 (Islington Local History Centre)
LB Islington, Chinese Association, 1996 (Islington Local History Centre)
LB Islington, opening of Pakistan Women's Welfare Association offices, 1991 (Islington Local History Centre)
LB Islington, opening of Pakistan Women's Welfare Association offices, 1991 (Islington Local History Centre)
LB Islington, women sewing at the Asian Resource Centre, 1991 (Courtesy of Islington Local History Centre. Photograph by Jenny Matthews)
LB Islington, women sewing at the Asian Resource Centre, 1991 (Courtesy of Islington Local History Centre. Photograph by Jenny Matthews)
LB Tower Hamlets, Bethnal Green Pensioners Action Group open day at St Hilda's Community Centre, 1992 (© London Borough of Tower Hamlets)
LB Tower Hamlets, Bethnal Green Pensioners Action Group open day at St Hilda's Community Centre, 1992 (© London Borough of Tower Hamlets)
LB Islington, London Lesbian and Gay Centre in Cowcross Street, 1986 (Islington Local History Centre)
LB Islington, London Lesbian and Gay Centre in Cowcross Street, 1986 (Islington Local History Centre)
LB Wandsworth, national abortion campaign rally on Tooting Common, 1975 (Wandsworth Heritage Service)
LB Wandsworth, national abortion campaign rally on Tooting Common, 1975 (Wandsworth Heritage Service)

Over the last 50 years the London Boroughs have had to respond to massive social and demographic change. During that time London truly became a multi-cultural city and equal opportunities became a very hot topic.

In the middle of the 20th century one in 20 Londoners had been born outside the UK — a tiny fraction would be black or of Asian origin. By the 1990s 1.35 million black and Asian origin Londoners accounted for just over one in five of the Greater London population. Successive waves of social change reshaped the communities of post-war London; anti-discrimination movements were finding traction as the London boroughs pioneered their own approaches to the promotion of tolerance and cohesion in their own diverse communities. Difference was now the unifying trait between Londoners.

This selection of images shows various initiatives where local London government responded to the needs of their communities. Read more about how London and Londoners changed during half a century and have a look at the entire gallery online, for pictures of an anti-apartheid rally, Bernie Grant, challenges to racism, different religious ceremonies, the first wheelchair-using Mayor, Holocaust memorial day, civil partnerships and the modern citizenship ceremony.

With thanks to London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London Borough of Enfield, Islington Local History Centre and Wandsworth Heritage Service.

As part of the ongoing activities marking the London Boroughs’ 50th anniversary, London Councils has gathered together a unique library of archive images from 1965 to 2015.

Last Updated 16 September 2015