Establishing Community


If sport encouraged respect, then music brought admiration as the sounds of the Caribbean began to imprint itself onto mainstream British culture.

In the 1950s Calypso was the leading sound but, as Jamaica became independent in 1962, the new sounds of ska, rocksteady and reggae began to takeover in the Caribbean and the UK. Caribbean music’s cultural power would also hit Derby.

The launch of Havana Club in 1967 and other Black-owned night spots allowed a place for West Indian culture to thrive, and an underground scene emerged with the Reggae Sound System Clash era in the 70s and 80s. Typified by huge speakers with a loud base, Sound Clashes allowed a generation to leave a cultural stamp on Britain which was pivotal to the modern underground music scene today.

As younger members of the community built this counter culture scene, organisations like the Derby West Indian Community Association worked to make Black culture mainstream. This included the launch of Black Roots Radio on BBC Radio Derby, in 1979, which later became the Devon Daley Show.

Derby West Indian Association and BBC Radio Derby

In the mid 1970's two DWIA members, Mr C McBean & Jerry Smith, negotiated with BBC Radio Derby to host a Black-led radio programme designed to meet demand from the local African Caribbean community. This led to the Black Roots radio programme.

Wesley Clarke was the first Black Roots presenter with production support from Pam Gabbidon, Yvonne Guy, Marcela & Ken Ashley. BBC Radio Derby has broadcast African Caribbean programming for over 40 years.

I started on the station as part of Terry Christian's show, Barbed Wireless - a youth music by myself and Chris McKenzie - better known as DC Connection...and Wesley Davison...then part of one of Derby's reggae sound systems...Barbed Wireless won 2 Sony Gold awards.
Black Roots was name of the show circa 1981 and covered topical Black news as well as gospel & reggae artists interviews etc...and, in 1997, this became the Devon Daley show and incorporated the Gospel Show. In 2002 the name of the show changed to the African Caribbean Experience...The show has since documented events such as the 50th & 65th anniversary of the Windrush, Derby “arrivals” like Tom Douce and the recent 50th anniversary of the Race Relations Act.

Devon Daley, radio presenter

Oral histories

  1. 1 / 5

    The Havana Club

    Newspaper Article of Derby's first West Indies Club - The Havana at No. 1 Uttoxeter Road.

  2. 2 / 5

    BBC Radio Derby

    Glen and Yvonne outside BBC Radio Derby

  3. 3 / 5

    Radio Derby 15-21 September 1979

    Newspaper cutting - Black Roots community with Wes Clarke, Yvonne Guy, Ken Ashby, Marcella Ashby and Pamela Gabbidon

  4. 4 / 5

    Derby Clubs Trocadero

  5. 5 / 5