Whitechapel Road home of London's first black community

Parish records reveal that black citizens were in residence in Tudor England, especially after the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth I. The free people lived, worked and married in the city, in particular around Whitechapel Road in east London.

Historian Michael Wood writes that black citizens were employed as servants, musicians, dancers and entertainers, and fascinated such luminaries as Shakespeare, who included them as leading characters in his plays.

The BBC Magazine article includes some names of black London residents and their positions in society.