Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
The cosmopolitan nature of dockside neighbourhoods in cities like Liverpool, Cardiff and London proved a source of endless fascination and concern in the decade after the race riots of 1919. Here an unidentified illustrator imagines the scene in the Shark’s Tooth, a basement cafe in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay, in a story published in the Monster penny comic. Suggestive and troubling in equal measure, it gives some sense of how even the melodramatic serials published in boys’ story papers could be shaped by broader patterns of social, cultural and economic life. Note the fashionable young white women (the stereotypical flapper) dancing and chatting with black and Chinese men.
The illustration is taken Netley Lucas, ‘Cardiff “Tigers” at Bay’, The Monster 1d Comic, 9 July 1927, 6