The Hearn Recital Room
Took place on Tue 23 May 2023, 8.00pm


Paterson Joseph: The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho

60 minutes
The Hearn Recital Room
Took place on Tue 23 May 2023, 8.00pm

An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. Told with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended.

Stephen Fry

Meet Charles Ignatius Sancho: whose extraordinary story, hidden for three hundred years, is told by one of Britain’s best-loved actors, Paterson Joseph, in his captivating debut historical novel, The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho.

Reading extracts from his acclaimed book, Paterson Joseph shares this fascinating figure’s incredible life and a Georgian London as you’ve never seen it before…

I had little right to live, born on a slave ship where my parents both died. But I survived, and indeed, you might say I did more…

It’s 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho is utterly alone. The man he hoped would help is dying. Sancho is desperate.

And yet this same Sancho will go on to tread the boards of London’s theatres, become a highly acclaimed musician and composer, lead the fight to end slavery, meet the King and become the very first Black person to vote in Britain . . .

It’s time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, which via Greenwich and Blackheath, ends at the very centre of London life. And through it all, he must ask: born amongst death, how much can you achieve in one short life?

‘Phenomenal! Highly recommended’ Malorie Blackman, author of Noughts and Crosses

‘Not to be missed’ Guardian

View our original film created in April 2021 by Chris Stark, Musical Director of the Blackheath Halls Orchestra about 18th Century composer Charles Ignatius Sancho, a fascinating figure with a strong connection to the Greenwich area.