Source 3

Letter from the Assistant Head Constable of Liverpool, L. Everett, to the Home Office, 10 June 1919. Catalogue ref: HO 45/11017/377969/6





I have the honour to call your attention to the outbreak of enmity against the black population of this city which has been growing for some time and, on Thursday last, culminated in a serious encounter resulting in one negro being thrown into one of the docks and drowned, and several policemen being seriously injured, one, who was shot, is still lying in a dangerous condition in hospital.


The trouble has been caused between the citizens and the blacks, mainly on account of the blacks interfering with white women, capturing a portion of the labour market and West Indians having been demobilized here with plenty of cash assuming an aggressive attitude. Others are West Africans who were working on ships chartered by the Government which have now finished their work and the crews paid off in Liverpool. Those employed by Elder, Dempster & Co., are well looked after and kept together in boarding houses.


Already there are over 200 in our charge for their own safety, and considerable damage has been done to property in which the blacks lodged.


I should be glad if the Secretary of State could advise if there is any power to intern them either on board ship or in one of the Military Camps which is now vacant on the outskirts of the city, and what steps he suggests can be taken to remove this black population, some 2000 to 3000 by compulsory repatriation or otherwise.  I am confident that, unless a drastic and quick clearance is made, disturbances leading to loss of life will result.


I am informed by Messrs. Elder, Dempster & Co. that, if desired, they can fit up a ship to return 100 of them to West Africa next week.


I am sir, your obedient servant,


L Everett,


Assistant Head Constable.


The Under Secretary of State,

Home Office,


London, S.W.1


« Return to 1919 race riots

Look at source 3.

  1. Why do you think the Head Constable is writing to the Home Office?
  2. What actions is the Liverpool Head Constable calling for in his letter to the Home Office?
  3. What reasons does the letter give for the ‘outbreak of enmity against the black population’ in Liverpool?
  4. Compare this letter to Source 2. Which source do you think would be a fairer assessment of the subject? Give your reasons.
  5. The letter states that relations between the black and the white population have been deteriorating for some time. Can you explain why?
  6. Can you identify the different black populations mentioned in the letter and comment upon the attitude of the Head Constable towards them?
  7. What inferences can you draw from the tone of the letter?