Laurence Westgaph

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Laurence Westgaph (born 28 February 1975), is a British historian, activist and television presenter, specialising in British black history and slavery.[1]

Early years and education[edit]

Westgaph was born in Liverpool in 1975 to a mother of Nigerian descent and a Jamaican father. He grew up in the inner city area of Toxteth, with his father returning to the West Indies when he was a baby.[2] His ancestors also hail from Barbados and he is a descendant of slave trader Robert Cox[3][4]

Westgaph left school at the age of 16. In 2008 he completed a Masters in Atlantic History at Liverpool University.[5]

Career[edit]

Westgaph began work as a model in Liverpool. He invested his earnings in property in the deprived Toxteth area of Liverpool. Westgaph became a vocal campaigner for regeneration of the area, helping to introduce new business and housing developments into the area, also speaking out against racism.[2]

Westgaph was given a Black Achievers Award for his work raising the profile of the history of Liverpool. He had produced a pamphlet titled "Read the signs" examining the history of Liverpool street names.[6]

His first media work was a column he wrote in the Liverpool Echo newspaper.[2]

Westgraph has appeared in a number of BBC TV and radio programmes. He worked on Inside Out and worked with Melvyn Bragg on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Routes of English, discussing slavery. He was part of a team who made a series for the History Channel in 2008 called 50 Things You Need To Know About British History. However it faced criticism for failing to include the likes of Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria. Westgaph also filmed a documentary for the History Channel titled Britain's Slavery Secrets, examining the slave trade's contribution to Britain.[5][2] Other figures he has worked with include John Peel and Trevor Phillips.

He is a founder member of the Liverpool Black Leadership Forum and is currently writing his first book and working on a PhD.[7]

Legal issues[edit]

In September 2009 Westgaph was convicted of grievous bodily harm after attacking a friend who had begun in a relationship with Westgaph's ex-partner. The victim was repeatedly punched and left with a broken eye socket as a result of the attack. Westgaph was given a nine month jail sentence, suspended for two years.[8]

In 2000 he given a community order after being found to have had sex with a 15 year old girl. However the judge noted that she had given "every impression" of being older.[9][2]

Personal life[edit]

He lives with his mother in Edge Hill, Liverpool.[2] He had a relationship with Natalie Inge and they have a child.[10][9]

References[edit]