THE HIGH Commissioner of Barbados was amongst the dignitaries present at the unveiling of a exhibition celebrating Barbadian culture in Reading on Monday.

Showing at Reading Museum from October 4 to December 3, 'Our Journey So Far' coincides with 50 years of the Caribbean island's independence from British colonial rule and exhibits artefacts from Reading's share of the Barbadian diaspora.

The Vice Chancellor of Reading University, David Bell, Mayor of Reading, Councillor Mohammed Ayub and chair of the Barbados and Friends Association (BAFA) Reading, Jeff Jones, were all in attendance alongside Commissioner Guy Hewitt.

Shortly before cutting the ceremonial ribbon, H.E. Hewitt said: “There is a significant, deep and long bond between Barbados and Reading.

“It is known as the place with the largest density of Barbadians anywhere in the United Kingdom.

“Barbadians found their way here and made it their home.”

The link between Reading and Barbados is thought to have first been forged in the 1950s, when Huntley and Palmer biscuit makers began transporting large amounts of sugar across the Pacific.

The exhibition includes artefacts such as a Jooking Board and Clay Monkey from the island and audio interviews with first generation British Barbadians.

On Saturday October 15 a Cultural Extravaganza at Reading Concert Hall will continue the celebrations, with performances from Reading Community Gospel Choir and a talk by Wokingham historian Guy Grannum titled 'Tracing your Caribbean Ancestry'.

H.E. Hewitt continued: “The project undertaken by BAFA Reading is an important one. It is capturing what has been a significant history of the movement of Barbadians into Reading.

“It is important that we start to record the contribution of Barbados in Britain because Barbados has made a wonderful contribution here so congratulations to our diaspora community for what is going to be a successful project.”