Project 1838 is an exhibition organised by the Social History Hub, a social enterprise set up to bring different generations of communities together to celebrate a common understanding of shared historical experiences. Its main aim is to curate exhibitions in highly visible spaces with large audience appeal and to document oral history through film and audio as well as online and through social media. 

Project 1838 is a photographic exhibition designed to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the first arrival of indentured labourers to the Caribbean. It will tell the story of Indian and Chinese labourers who were recruited by the British government to work on sugar plantations after slavery was abolished.

Their arrival and settlement led to a vibrant and rich mix of predominantly African, Indian and Chinese cultures. Over time separate cultural practices fused together to create the Caribbean’s distinct cross cultural characteristics now felt in every walk of life from food to music, art, architecture and language.

Our objective is to bring the story of indentured labour to existing and new audiences and at the same time revitalise an interest in Caribbean history and its people with multiculturalism at its heart.

The London connection

During the 1950’s and ‘60’s the descendants of those first pioneers answered a second call by the British government to fill the labour shortage, this time in the ‘Motherland’.

This exhibition will bring these communities together to share and record their stories of Caribbean life and settlement in London and the UK.

Through photographs, film and audio recordings it will reveal the strong and continued bonds they have to the region and a determined effort to pass on their heritage to future generations.

An important part of the exhibition is to showcase the contribution Caribbean communities have made to British life in business, politics, entertainment, literature, culture and the arts, such as Shakira Caine, VS Naipaul, Jonathan Phang, Suresh Rambaran and Lee Gopthal


Project 1838 is expected to attract a high volume of visitors from the Caribbean diaspora, tourists visiting London from outside the UK and those who reside in London. We plan to capitalise on the diversity of London to introduce new audiences to the Caribbean and create an interest to explore the region first hand.

The capital is now recognised as the most multicultural city in the world with over 300 languages spoken amongst its population of eight million. They share common experiences of migration and our intention is to reveal what Caribbean multiculturalism has to offer. In addition we intend to target London residents, born outside of the UK who now makeup thirty per cent of the London population (Census 2011), with a particular emphasis on those from the Indian Sub-Continent and China.