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Port of London
1822 – 1899
Biographies

Joseph Salter (1822-1899)

Joseph Salter was one of the most prolific missionaries and writers to address ‘Asiatics’ in nineteenth-century Britain.

'In the Main Hall of the Strangers' Home, West India Dock', Living London, c. 1902.

Born in London in 1822, Salter lived and worked in the city throughout his life, predominantly in the West India Dock. This was also the location of the Stranger's Home for Asiatic, Africans and South Sea Islanders opened in 1857. Salter worked on behalf of London City Mission as the first resident Missionary of the Stranger’s Home. The home provided accommodation for non-European men, who found themselves in London, much of whom were lascars.

Salter taught himself several languages spoken in India to aid his evangelism. This included Hindi which he studied with the valet of Meer Jafur. Salter also helped establish the Ayahs' Home in Aldgate which provided accommodation for women, predominantly from South Asia, who were employed by British families to care for their children and perform other domestic tasks.

Salter wrote two memoirs based on his work. The first, The Asiatic in England: Sketches of Sixteen Years' Works Among Orientals (1873), was dedicated to Maharajah Duleep Singh and recounted many of Salter’s experiences of working lascar’s in Britain, the establishment and work of the Stranger's home as well as many of the challenges faced by immigrants in the urban environment.  The second, The East in the West; or, Work among the Asiatics and Africans in London (1895), likewise outlined the perils commonly associated with those from different localities, with chapters including 'Chinese Opium dens' and 'Asiatics and Africans in Prison'.

Salter died in March 1899 aged 76.

References

Primary Sources

Salter, Joseph. 1873. The Asiatic in England: Sketches of Sixteen Years' Works Among Orientals (London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, London). 

Salter, Joseph. 1895. The East in the West; or, Work among the Asiatics and Africans in London (London: S.W. Partridge & Co).

Secondary sources

Visram, Rozina. 2002. Asians In Britain: 400 Years of History (London; Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press).

Joseph Salter.  Making Britain, Open University. Retrieved 15 November 2023.

Citation for this article

Lucy Wray, 'Joseph Salter (1822-1899)' Mariners: Race, Religion and Empire in British Ports 1801-1914, https://mar.ine.rs/stories/joseph-salter-1822-1899/
Retrieved 22 February 2024