Timeline 1900 – 2017

Founding of the Coloured Men’s Institute in East London

In 1926, Kamal Chunchie, A Ceylonese Muslim of Malay origin, founded the Coloured Men’s Institute in Canning Town. Chunchie was a pastor at the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest and was given special responsibility for seamen from minority ethnic backgrounds, many of whom were facing severe poverty and deprivation after being made redundant from the jobs after the First World War. The Coloured Men’s Institute was set up by Chunchie in order to help these seamen, many of whom had had families with white women. The Institute distributed food, clothing and other items to individuals and families in need, as well as organising group events such as Christmas parties and outings to the countryside and seaside.

The majority of those attending the social functions at the CMI were black sailors, their white wives and their mixed race children, many of whom probably came from ‘Draughtboard Alley’, so called due to the number of black and white families who lived on the street.