Timeline 1900 – 2017

Special Restrictions (Coloured Alien Seamen) Order

Following the Aliens Order of 1920 (that defined British protected persons as aliens), the Special Restrictions (Coloured Alien Seamen) Order was passed in 1925, one purpose of which was to limit the influx of ‘coloured’ alien seamen to the country. This Order required all ‘coloured’ seamen resident in the UK who were unable to establish a claim to British nationality to register at once with the police (British women who had married these men were also classed as ‘aliens’, as per the 1914 Nationality Act). Many of these seamen were Black and Asian British nationals but, unable to prove their status, these men were threatened with deportation or denied employment with the result that their families – mostly with white women – were thrown into severe poverty. The poor economic circumstances of these mixed race families and the consequent difficult circumstances they found themselves would feed into the damning condemnation and stereotyping about mixed race couples and peoples that became rampant during the 1930s. The Order would not be revoked until 1942.