National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago

National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago Preserving Trinidad and Tobago's documentary heritage. #nationalarchivestt #knowyourhistory The National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago (NATT) is the treasure-house of our country's heritage.
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We, at the National Archives, are the custodians of Trinidad and Tobago's memory. We acquire, preserve and make accessible thousands of records, of various formats, to the public. These include government records, immigration records, photographs, books, maps and more. To learn more about our collections, please visit our website: https://natt.gov.tt/

Mission: Preserving T&T’s documentary heritage. #nationalarchivestt #knowyourhistory To learn more about our collections, visit our website.

Operating as usual

Yesterday, the Alma Jordan Library at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine celebrated 10 years since its ren...
01/03/2021

Yesterday, the Alma Jordan Library at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine celebrated 10 years since its renaming.

The Alma Jordan Library’s collection stretches as far back as 1898, and includes serials and journals from the late 19th century. Prior to 1960, it fell under the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) and was located in what is known today as the Old Admin Building.

The Library’s collections grew when ICTA became part of the University of the West Indies in 1960. Alma Jordan, the Senior Assistant Librarian at that time, underwent the gruelling task of organising the Library’s varied collections during those early years of UWI St. Augustine’s existence. Between 1959 and 1965, the Library’s book collection tripled in size, making storage an issue.

In 1962 when the library of the Federal Government also moved to UWI, Alma Jordan reclassified everything under the Library of Congress system. This UWI Library eventually moved to its current location—a building on the JFK quadrangle that was designed with the input of Alma Jordan and completed with funds donated to the University of the West Indies by the United States in 1969.

The Library has been known by many names throughout the years, for example as “The John F. Kennedy Library’ and then “The Main Library.” It was not until 2010, when UWI St. Augustine celebrated their 50th Anniversary, that it was decided to rename the library once again. On February 28th, 2011, it officially became the Alma Jordan Library in recognition of Alma Jordan’s efforts as the first campus librarian.

Photo showing the Alma Jordan Library in 1969 from the book, “From Imperial College to University of the West Indies” by Bridget Brereton. This book is part of the NATT Reference Library.

References: Brereton, Bridget. From Imperial College to University of the West Indies: a History of the St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago. Ian Randle, 2011.

#nationalarchivestt #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory #uwistaugustine #almajordanlibrary

01/03/2021

Winifred Atwell was known for playing with two pianos on stage—a grand piano and an upright piano which she bought at a thrift store and refurbished. She played music from her memory and was also known for throwing her trademark wink at the audience during her performances.

In Elton John’s memoir, “Me” he pays tribute to Atwell, naming her as one of his musical idols. He describes her as “a big, immensely jolly Trinidadian lady” and a very expressive musician who “would lean back and look at the audience with a huge grin on her face while she was playing, like she was having the best time in the world.”

In 1969, Winifred Atwell was awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) for her contributions to the world of music. That year, she went on a world tour with the Pan Am Jet North Steel Orchestra, following the release of their historic album “Ivory and Steel,” which was directed and arranged by steelpan pioneer Anthony “Tony” Williams.

Yesterday marked 38 years since Atwell passed on February 28th 1983. In her honour, we encourage you to look for video clips of her performances. She was an icon!

This video shows a clip on Winifred Atwell from the show, “Heroes of Our People,” which was commissioned by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Culture and Creative Arts between 1968 and 1991. It is part of the NATT Audiovisual Collection.

References: “Winnifred Atwell” from “The 90 Most Prominent Women in Trinidad and Tobago” by the Trinidad Express Newspapers Ltd. (1991).

Yin, Ying-Di. “The First Woman to Play at the Opera House.” Sydney Opera House, 12 May 2020, www.sydneyoperahouse.com/digital/articles/music/first-woman-to-play-the-opera-house-winifred-atwell.html.

#nationalarchivestt #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory #winifredatwell

#OnThisDay in 1914, the award-winning Trinbagonian pianist and composer Winifred Atwell was born in Tunapuna. Known popu...
28/02/2021

#OnThisDay in 1914, the award-winning Trinbagonian pianist and composer Winifred Atwell was born in Tunapuna.

Known popularly as “The Queen of Keyboard,” Atwell sold over 20 million records worldwide with her boogie-woogie and ragtime hits. She was the first Trinbagonian artist and the first black artist in the United Kingdom to have a number one hit on the UK Pop Singles chart, which she topped twice in 1954 and 1956.

Atwell’s musical talent was discovered when she began learning to play piano as a child. She was just six years old when she first performed advanced pieces of music in public. At age eight, she played regularly as an organist at St. Charles’ Church in Tunapuna. While she pursued music, she studied chemistry and trained to be a pharmacist like her father.

In the early 1940s, Atwell played at a US Servicemen's club in Piarco, where she was asked to perform a boogie-woogie style piece. Inspired by the challenge, she went home and wrote “Piarco Boogie,” which was later named “Five Finger Boogie.” From then on, Atwell began to incorporate boogie-woogie style in her music. Her style continued to transform when she left Trinidad for New York to learn from her mentor, the pianist Alexander Borovsky.

Later on, she studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she became the first woman pianist to be awarded the highest grade for her musicianship. To financially support her studies, she performed at various venues in London.

She got her “big break” when she was called in to replace a performer and caught the attention of an entrepreneur named Bernard Delfont, who offered her a long term recording contract.

By the late 1950s, Winifred Atwell had become an international celebrity and even had her own television show in the UK called “Bernard Delfont Presents: The Winifred Atwell Show.”

At the height of her career, Atwell was one of the highest paid musical stars in the world, and even had her hands insured by Lloyd’s of London for 40,000 pounds, in an insurance policy that prohibited her from washing dishes.

This photo of Winifred Atwell is courtesy of the Trinidad Express, published on August 3rd 1969. This newspaper is part of the NATT Newspaper Collection.

References: “Winnifred Atwell” from “The 90 Most Prominent Women in Trinidad and Tobago” by the Trinidad Express Newspapers Ltd. (1991).

Yin, Ying-Di. “The First Woman to Play at the Opera House.” Sydney Opera House, 12 May 2020, www.sydneyoperahouse.com/digital/articles/music/first-woman-to-play-the-opera-house-winifred-atwell.html.

#nationalarchivestt #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory #winifredatwell

#FridayFinds Children at play in Las Lomas on December 12th 1960.  We wish you all a great weekend! ❤️These photos are f...
26/02/2021

#FridayFinds Children at play in Las Lomas on December 12th 1960. We wish you all a great weekend! ❤️

These photos are from the NATT Photo Collection.

#nationalarchivestt #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory

The influenza virus arrived in the Caribbean in September 1918 via visiting US ships. It was first seen in Puerto Rico a...
25/02/2021

The influenza virus arrived in the Caribbean in September 1918 via visiting US ships. It was first seen in Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe and made its way throughout the Caribbean countries until arriving in Trinidad and Tobago in the last quarter of 1918. By December 1918, the District Officers of Health had declared influenza a quarantinable disease, and affected persons were held at the Colonial Hospital in Port of Spain.

However, due to its sudden appearance in Trinidad and Tobago, medical infrastructure was unable to cope with the virus. The number of reported deaths was 300 but the estimated total is closer to 1000, and persons from the labouring classes were the worst affected. This severe pandemic lasted until 1920, when the world developed herd immunity.

Influenza viruses are endemic throughout the world, including in Trinidad and Tobago, where they still make sporadic appearances. In 2009, there was a major appearance of a subtype of influenza, the H1N1 “swine flu” virus, which made the jump from infecting pigs to infecting humans. Thankfully, due to vaccination efforts, swine flu no longer poses the threat it did years ago.

Photo 1 shows a comic published in the Trinidad Guardian on February 11th 1918.

Photo 2 shows an advertisement for Catarrhozone medicated air for colds and other respiratory illnesses. It was published in the Port of Spain Gazette on December 31st 1918.

Both of these newspapers are part of the NATT Newspaper Collection.

References: “1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Mar. 2019, www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html.

Claire Gillespie November 17, and Claire Gillespie. “Spanish Flu vs. COVID-19: Here's How They Compare.” Health.com, 17 Nov. 2020, www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/how-are-spanish-flu-and-covid-19-alike.

Edwards, Fayola Moore. “Fayola Moore Edwards.” Grenada National Trust, Fayola Moore Edwards Http://Grenadanationaltrust.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/09/Logo-300x300.Png, 30 Apr. 2020, grenadanationaltrust.org/the-last-major-pandemic-in-the-caribbean/.

See below for References ⬇️

Over 100 years ago, Trinidad and Tobago faced another pandemic: the influenza or “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918. During ...
25/02/2021

Over 100 years ago, Trinidad and Tobago faced another pandemic: the influenza or “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918. During its peak between October 1918 and March 1919, the pandemic caused 50 million deaths worldwide. In the Caribbean, the virus resulted in over 100,000 deaths. Though it affected Trinidad and Tobago lightly, it was still a cause for concern in a British colony that was just beginning to recover from World War I.

The “H1N1 influenza A” virus first appeared in the United States, then in the United Kingdom, France and Germany—although it was ironically nicknamed “Spanish Flu.” It got this nickname because the first international reports of the disease were made in Spain during World War I. As a neutral country, Spain did not censor their press. Participating countries, however, censored their press for safety reasons, and so early news of the virus' appearances in places like the US and the UK were not made known internationally.

The influenza pandemic shared many similarities with today’s Covid-19 pandemic. Both were caused by viruses, were highly infectious, spread via droplets in the air, and were “novel” meaning that they had never been seen in humans before and therefore we had no immunity. Like today, similar measures were put in places to combat the spread of the virus in 1918–the wearing of masks, social distancing, banning gatherings of more than 10 people, and quarantining infected persons. Leaflets were also distributed advising persons to, “wash hands before eating or touching food”.

This photo shows an article entitled “Influenza” which was published in the Trinidad Guardian on January 8th 1918. This newspaper is part of the NATT Newspaper Collection.

References:

“1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Mar. 2019, www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html.

Claire Gillespie November 17, and Claire Gillespie. “Spanish Flu vs. COVID-19: Here's How They Compare.” Health.com, 17 Nov. 2020, www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/how-are-spanish-flu-and-covid-19-alike.


Edwards, Fayola Moore. “Fayola Moore Edwards.” Grenada National Trust, Fayola Moore Edwards Http://Grenadanationaltrust.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/09/Logo-300x300.Png, 30 Apr. 2020, grenadanationaltrust.org/the-last-major-pandemic-in-the-caribbean/.

Killingray, D. “The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 in the British Caribbean.” Social history of medicine : the journal of the Society for the Social History of Medicine vol. 7,1 (1994): 59-87. doi:10.1093/shm/7.1.59.

#nationalarchivestt #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory #influenzapandemic #spanishflu

In March 1958, Claudia Jones founded The West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News (WIG)—one of the first newspa...
22/02/2021

In March 1958, Claudia Jones founded The West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News (WIG)—one of the first newspapers to centre the black community in London—alongside activist Amy Ashwood Garvey. That year, the Notting Hill Race Riots took place, deepening already existing tensions between the black West Indian community and the white working class in Notting Hill.

In response to this violence, Claudia Jones held an indoor “Caribbean Carnival” celebration at St. Pancras Hall, London in 1959. The event was timed to coincide with Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival in 1959. It lay the foundation for the famous Notting Hill Carnival, which is now celebrated annually on the last weekend of August. The roots of Notting Hill Carnival also lie in the first Notting Hill Street Festival which was organized by community activist Rhaune Laslett in 1966.

In addition to organizing community events, Claudia Jones continued to speak out against racism, especially that faced by black working class women in the UK. In the early 1960s, she campaigned for the end of the Apartheid System in South Africa and the release of political prisoners like Nelson Mandela. She also helped to organize rallies against the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, which made it more difficult for non-white people to migrate to Britain when it was passed in April 1962.

On December 24th (Christmas Eve) 1964, Claudia Jones passed away in London, after decades of living with chronic illness caused by tuberculosis. Her funeral was a large political ceremony that took place in January 1965, followed by her burial in Highgate Cemetery in North London, to the left of Karl Marx’s tomb.

In 2008, a blue plaque was installed in London to honour her as the “Mother of Caribbean Carnival in Britain.”

Claudia Jones is fondly remembered for her steadfast advocacy, which made her a powerhouse in the fight against racism and marginalisation in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

This photo shows the commemorative plaque that was installed in Claudia Jones’ honour. It was obtained via https://bit.ly/3jEp9xn.

References: Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: the Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Duke University Press, 2008.

Jones, Claudia, and Carole Boyce Davies. Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment: Autobiographical Reflections, Essays and Poems. Banbury: Ayebia Clarke, 2011. Print.

Brinkhurst-cuff, Charlie. “How a Trinidadian Communist Invented London's Biggest Party.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/world/europe/notting-hill-carnival-claudia-jones.html.

Dowlat, Rhondor. “Claudia Jones’ Life Remembered.” Trinidad Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.tt. 21 Feb. 2015. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.

Hinds, Donald. “The West Indian Gazette: Claudia Jones and the Black Press in Britain.” Race and Class 50.1 (2008): 88-97. http://www.irr.org.uk. July 2008. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.

NATT Article “Claudia Jones: Trinidadian-born UK Activist” via http://natt.gov.tt/new/node/229, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2020.

#nationalarchivest #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory #nottinghillcarnival #nottinghillhistory #claudiajones

“𝐀 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞’𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦.” This was the slogan Trinidadian journalist and political activist Clau...
22/02/2021

“𝐀 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞’𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦.” This was the slogan Trinidadian journalist and political activist Claudia Jones chose for the first “Caribbean Carnival” in England in January 1959.

She organized the Carnival event in protest and in solidarity with the Caribbean community in London, following a series of racist and xenophobic incidents against black Caribbean immigrants. In doing so, she planted the seeds for the Notting Hill Carnival, which has grown to be one of the largest Carnival events in the Caribbean diaspora.

Prior to settling in London, Claudia Jones lived in Harlem, New York City for 30 years. She was born in Belmont on February 21st 1915 and left Trinidad at age 8 to join her parents who had migrated to the US in search of better economic opportunities.

As a young woman, Jones was drawn to the Communist Party because of their support of the Scottsboro Boys—a group of black teenagers who had been wrongly convicted of a crime against two white women in 1931. She took on several leadership roles in the Party, including editor of the Party’s newspaper. Her involvement with the communist organization, as well as black nationalist groups like the National Negro Congress and the Southern Negro Congress, attracted the attention of the FBI. It was around this time that she adopted the last name “Jones” as “self-protective disinformation.”

In January 1948, she was imprisoned on Ellis Island, New York and threatened with deportation to Trinidad. She was later released on bail but she was arrested again in 1953 and sentenced to one year and a day, and a fine of two hundred dollars. She began to fulfill her sentence in January 1955, despite falling ill. After countless petitions against the sentence, she was released by October 1955 on “good behaviour.”

After she was deported in December 1955, she relocated to Britain, where she had been granted asylum. In her award-winning book, “Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones” (2008), Trinidadian author and biographer Carole Boyce Davies writes: “The British felt it would be easier to accommodate her politics in Britain than in the Caribbean, where decolonization and labour struggles were being fiercely waged at the time.”

This photo shows Claudia Jones via http://natt.gov.tt/new/node/229.

References: Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: the Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Duke University Press, 2008.

Jones, Claudia, and Carole Boyce Davies. Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment: Autobiographical Reflections, Essays and Poems. Banbury: Ayebia Clarke, 2011. Print.

Brinkhurst-cuff, Charlie. “How a Trinidadian Communist Invented London's Biggest Party.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/world/europe/notting-hill-carnival-claudia-jones.html.

Dowlat, Rhondor. “Claudia Jones’ Life Remembered.” Trinidad Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.tt. 21 Feb. 2015. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.

Hinds, Donald. “The West Indian Gazette: Claudia Jones and the Black Press in Britain.” Race and Class 50.1 (2008): 88-97. http://www.irr.org.uk. July 2008. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.

NATT Article “Claudia Jones: Trinidadian-born UK Activist” via http://natt.gov.tt/new/node/229, n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2020.

#nationalarchivest #nationalarchives #knowyourhistory #trinidadandtobago #caribbeanhistory #westindianhistory #nottinghillcarnival #nottinghillhistory #claudiajones

Address

105 St Vincent Street
Port Of Spain

City Bus Service Closest stop: Abercromby and New Streets. Proceed in an westerly direction for one (1) block. Taxis Hospital Taxis: These can be found opposite the City Gate Transit Hub at South Quay North in Port of Spain. Closest stop is the corner of Henry and New Streets. Proceed in an westerly direction across New Street for four (4) blocks. St Ann's/Savannah Taxis These can be found on Hart Street (overlooking Woodford Square) Closest stop Abercromby and New Streets. Proceed in an westerly direction for one (1) block.

General information

The National Archives is a repository for records dating from the 18th century to present. These include: Royal Gazette & Trinidad and Tobago Gazette, Land Ownership Records, Council Papers, Blue Books, Indian Indentureship,Hansard Reports, Census Reports, Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, Records of the Colonial Secretary's Office, Newspaper Collection, Special collections. Our services include: Research, Outreach, Records Management, Conservation

Opening Hours

Monday 08:15 - 16:00
Tuesday 08:15 - 16:00
Wednesday 08:15 - 16:00
Thursday 08:15 - 16:00
Friday 08:15 - 15:45

Telephone

+18686232874

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To learn more about our collections, visit our website.

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