The establishment of the East India Company in 1600 began a complex relationship between Britain and India that would mark major shifts in the culture and history of both nations. This trading relationship, combined with Britain’s long imperial rule in India, led to far reaching changes and a steady migration of South Asians from all walks of life to Britain.

With a focus on the period 1858–1950, explore this history through contemporary accounts, photographs, letters, newspapers and pamphlets – all evidence of the rich and diverse contributions South Asians have made to British life and society. 


Illustration of Britannia holding a flag, with an an elephant in the background carrying goods

Global trade and Empire

Explore the expansion of trade and Empire and discover the stories of the first South Asians to settle in Britain.

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Print depicting the exterior of Sake Dean Mahomed's baths in Brighton

Making home in Britain

Discover how early South Asian settlers earned a living and made a home in Britain.

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Photograph of Indian women carrying a banner at a suffrage march

Activism and politics

From the suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh to the Communist MP Shapurji Saklatvala: explore the lives of notable South Asians in 19th and 20th century British and Indian politics.

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Culture and intellectual life

Discover the contributions and influence of South Asian artists, poets, intellectuals and sportspeople within British arts, sciences, law and sport.

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Photograph of British and Indian communications unit in World War One

World Wars

From the largest volunteer army to the secret agent Noor Inayat Khan, uncover the contributions made by South Asians in World War One and Two.

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