West Indian Club
10 October 2021
The first established migrant community centre in Southampton.
The West Indian Club Aka The African/Caribbean Centre…To be honoured with a “Black Plaque”
The Southampton West Indian Club was the first established migrant community centre in the city in 1975 The West Indian community came mostly from Jamaica and St. Vincent, but smaller numbers came from other Caribbean countries like Barbados and Trinidad. They settled primarily in Newtown and St. Mary’s in a part of town that was sometimes called “The Derby Road area”.
Many people remember it as a friendly, colourful and vibrant part of the city and despite lack of investment was a place where many from migrant communities felt safe and distanced from the racism that was toxic in other parts of the city The West Indian Club was a place where Caribbean people could safely partake of the culture that they had left behind.
The Club was also a venue where there were educational Saturday classes for children, where older people could meet and where Black histories could be shared.
The West Indian club was also host to famous artists like Sugar Minott and Gregory Isaac but was also the home of local sound system Maka Foundation, local reggae band Ebony Rockers and Craig David played there in his early days.The West Indian Club is best remembered as a place where people from all ethnic backgrounds came together as one people and were able to escape from the outside world for a few moments.
A Black Plaque was unveiled by the first Chair Theo McKenzie at the place where it once stood during Black History Month 2021.
Race & Diversity Consultant (Hon. Doctor of Arts)
West Indian Club Black Plaque - ITV Meridian