A new exhibition at Hackney Museum shares the local history of Chinese amahs and South Asian ayahs employed to look after children in Britain during colonial times.
The free display, Ayahs and Amahs: Asian and Chinese Nannies in Hackney, opens today and will run until the 27 August.
Visitors can learn about the many women who took on these roles, and about the Ayahs’ and Amahs’ Home on King Edward’s Road, which provided shelter to around 90 women a year from Asia and acted as an employment agency.
A sold-out talk will begin at the museum at 5.55pm – however, spaces for walk-ins may become available.
Cllr Chris Kennedy, Hackney’s leisure chief, said: “This exhibition at Hackney Museum will help keep alive the memory of the Asian working-class women who were key workers of their time.
“We are delighted that the building at 26 King Edward’s Road will also deservedly be awarded a Blue Plaque by English Heritage.
“The Ayahs’ Home is a fine example of the borough’s reputation for providing a welcoming and safe refuge for people from all over the world, and we invite visitors from Hackney and beyond to learn more about these fascinating women and their lives.”
Between 1900 and 1941, many ayahs and amahs lived in Hackney. The Ayahs’ Home was opened at 26 King Edward’s Road by the London City Mission. It moved to 4 King Edward’s Road by 1921 and changed its name to the Ayahs’ and Amahs’ Home to reflect the women it served – and continued to provide women with opportunities to travel back to Asia with British families.
While the Home has featured in the Museum’s permanent display since 2002, this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to learn about the often untold stories of these women.
For more information, visit hackney-museum.hackney.gov.uk.