Treasures of the Caribbean

A collection of photographs of the Caribbean in Victorian times will be on show on Thursday 29 May, 2014 at the Birmingham Midlands Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham, starting at 6.30 p.m.

Taken by Sir John Benjamin Stone, local MP from 1885 to 1909, the exhibition, entitled ‘Treasures of the Caribbean’ is the launch event for the Birmingham Caribbean Festival that will take place from Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 June 2014, in Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre.

Sir Benjamin Stone, a prolific amateur documentary photographer, travelled widely in pursuit of his hobby and took over 26,000 photographs.  His purpose was to portray for the benefit of future generations, the manners and customs, festival and pageants and historic peoples and places of his time.

Taken from his collection in Birmingham Central Library, the photographs capture various aspects of British colonialism and the everyday life of people of African Caribbean and Asian heritage.  Profiling the important links between the UK and the Caribbean, these images provide a historical perspective to contemporary multi-ethnic Britain and Birmingham in particular.

Vanley Burke, widely recognised as one of the UK’s foremost photographers, said:

Having spent more than 40 years doing photographic documentation of the African Caribbean communities in Birmingham and wider afield, I am very pleased to be associated with the Sir Benjamin Stone’s Exhibition.  It provides unexpected connectivity and continuity of the relationship between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.

Burke himself is exhibiting at the festival from his ‘Rivers of Birminam’ collection and

Sir Benjamin Stone’s anthology provides the opportunity to juxtapose pre and post colonial life of ordinary people who are part of Birmingham’s multi-ethnic landscape.

The exhibition will run from Thursday 29 May to Thursday 19 June 2014 and feature photographs from Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana.  They will be seen by to the wider public for the first time.  

For further information contact  Kimona Morris on 0121 454 9969 or email:



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