The George Padmore Institute

The George Padmore Institute (GPI) is an archive, educational research and information centre housing materials relating mainly to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe. Its aims are to organise and sustain:

  • an archive, library, educational resource, research and information centre, to allow the materials in its care to be available for use by interested individuals and groups, both in person at the GPI and through the use of modern storage, retrieval and communication methods;
  • educational and cultural activities including conferences, courses, seminars, study programmes, talks and readings;
  • the publication and dissemination of relevant materials.

The GPI was set up in 1991 by a group of people connected with New Beacon Books, Britain's first black publisher and bookshop. Since being established in 1966 New Beacon Books, led by its founder John La Rose, has worked closely with and supported many educational, cultural and political initiatives in the black community and wider society in Britain and abroad.

The work of the Institute is directed by a board of Trustees, who have been connected in some way with these initiatives - and there are four sub-committees to organise different parts of our work (eg archive work, events etc). The building occupied by the Institute was donated to it in 1991. The Institute has for its use the three floors above New Beacon Bookshop, which occupies the ground floor and pays rent to the George Padmore Institute.


Who is George Padmore?

The Institute is named after George Padmore, who is one of the major figures of the 20th century. Born in Trinidad, George Padmore demonstrated an independent intellectual and organisational position in the anti-colonial and international movements for change in the 1930s and 1940s.

He was a key figure in the organisation of the influential 5th Pan African Congress held in Manchester in 1945 and was an adviser to Kwame Nkrumah before and after the independence of Ghana in 1957.

George Padmore died after a short illness in 1959. Padmore’s vision was of a world unburdened from the arrogance and tribulation of empires and dedicated to equality, solidarity and hope. We have named our Institute after George Padmore as we see it continuing the traditions which shaped his life: independent, radical vision and outlook connecting the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.

Please note that the George Padmore Institute was named in honour of George Padmore but does not house archive collections relating to him.