James Procter


Dwelling places - houses, hostels, basements, bedsits - established themselves as key arenas of contestation in the narration of early post-war black British settlement. It was here that the panics and pleasures surrounding black immigration tended to accumulate and stage themselves. As Britain's doors were opened to its colonies and former colonies through the Nationality Act of 1948, those doors guarding the nation's residential hinterlands were being effectively dosed. Housing was, perhaps more than any other threshold in the 1950s, subject to a 'colour bar'. Its fortification could be read in the proliferation of those now hackneyed signs of racial exclusion displayed in the windows of shops, guest houses and hotels: 'Rooms to Let. Sorry, No Dogs and No Coloureds'. Here it was the dwelling place, not the official point of entry, at which the regulation, policing and deferral of black settlement was to be most effectively mythologized.



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