top of page



Following in the footsteps of Harley documents our research and travels in writing my latest book, The Adventures of a Black Edwardian Intellectual, The Story of James Arthur Harley. It is a wry look at our experiences, including the sublime, funny, unbelievable, poignant moments in realizing what Harley had undertaken and achieved.


So, who are we? I am Pamela, the author, as my mother calls me, and my mother, my fellow researcher and traveller in arms. We, tongue in cheek, refer to ourselves as the dilapidated duo, half-dead and bruk up. Why? I have a hereditary blood condition, sickle cell anaemia. The condition has taken its toll on my body, which I describe as the Taj Mahal - crumbling slowly. Most noticeably, I walk with a very pronounced limp. My mother suffered a heart attack in 2013 and, as a result, lost a tremendous amount of weight. We pride ourselves that we're still going and will get there in the end. 

An old brass compass on a map background.jpg
gate inn pub 3.jpg
gate inn pub 3.jpg

 BLOODY HELL! It's Diane abbot mp.

I tried to imagine what Marshside was like in 1909 when Harley lived here. We had been in Chislet/Marshside for two days and had not seen one person of colour. It appeared that nothing had changed - a small village with a public house, church, school, and convenience store. Canterbury had fast food outlets and larger stores. Here was quiet, serene, relaxed, a gentler pace of life.

We ventured into Reculver to visit the Mill Cottage, where Harley lived, and then into Whitstable to see the town and undertake some shopping.


Whitstable had established a reputation as a town renowned for its seafood and antiques. 

Wandering along the High Street, in and out of the various shops, we remarked that we still had not seen another person of colour.


We made our way back to the car to return to Frieda's. Suddenly I saw the back of a woman's head while driving along the High Street. 


I pointed her out, saying, 'there's a black woman.’ As the car drew level, I could see a person I recognized from the side of the face – Diane Abbott, the Labour MP. What the bloody hell is Diane Abbott doing here?

mill house.jpg

 I parked lopsided in the High Street, half the car on the pavement and half on the road.


I wound down the window and screamed, Diane! Before I knew what had happened, a gaggle of press photographers and campaign workers engulfed the car.


They bombarded us with questions: 'How do you know Diane; do you live here? 'Are you a Labour voter? Are you going to vote for the candidate?'


Diane was campaigning in the general election and lending her support to the local candidate.

bottom of page