Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case SP, Shelf 4
This object, or the text that describes it, is deemed offensive and discriminatory. We are committed to improving our records, and work is ongoing.


Flat to Let

Photograph
circa 1959 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his Notting Hill community, taking photographs with a Kodak brownie camera he had been given by a black American serviceman. His photographs have become a visual record of London in the 1960s, especially of the growing black population and the experiences they faced.

The overt racism of the flat advertisement is evidence of the kind of discrimination against the emerging black community, which persisted in Britain throughout the post-war period. Refusing people housing because of their race was comparable to the racial segregation in the United States at the time. Although segregation was not legally enforced in Britain, the press often referred to a British ‘colour bar’ to describe the continuing discrimination. Notting Hill became one of the few areas where black people could find housing, but conditions were often poor as local landlords like Peter Rachman took the opportunity to exploit tenants.

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. Photographs by Dennis Morris, which document living conditions for the black community in Hackney during the 1970s, were also acquired as part of the project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gelatin silver print
Brief Description
Photograph by Charlie Phillips, 'Flat to Let', gelatin silver print, London, c.1959
Physical Description
A black and white photograph of a piece of lined note paper which has been pinned up with two drawing pins, reading 'FLAT TO LET 3. Rooms K+B [kitchen and bathroom], Married Couple Only, No Coloured, Tel Pad [telephone Paddington] 6211.'
Dimensions
  • Image width: 264mm
  • Image height: 272mm
  • Paper width: 287mm
  • Paper height: 401mm
Style
Credit line
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Object history
The term "coloured" was used historically in Britain and North America to describe people of black (sub-Saharan) African heritage but, since the 1960s, has fallen from usage and is considered offensive. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.



The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Subjects depicted
Association
Summary
Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his Notting Hill community, taking photographs with a Kodak brownie camera he had been given by a black American serviceman. His photographs have become a visual record of London in the 1960s, especially of the growing black population and the experiences they faced.



The overt racism of the flat advertisement is evidence of the kind of discrimination against the emerging black community, which persisted in Britain throughout the post-war period. Refusing people housing because of their race was comparable to the racial segregation in the United States at the time. Although segregation was not legally enforced in Britain, the press often referred to a British ‘colour bar’ to describe the continuing discrimination. Notting Hill became one of the few areas where black people could find housing, but conditions were often poor as local landlords like Peter Rachman took the opportunity to exploit tenants.



The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. Photographs by Dennis Morris, which document living conditions for the black community in Hackney during the 1970s, were also acquired as part of the project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Associated Objects
Bibliographic Reference
Phillips, Charlie and Mike Phillips. Notting Hill in the Sixties. London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, 1991, ISBN 0 85315 751 0image appears on page 11
Collection
Accession Number
E.259-2011

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record createdJuly 12, 2011
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