Leicester Migration Stories - Making Histories

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Leicester Migration Stories - Making Histories

ContentsPreface 2Introduction 3China 4Mongolia 5Sri Lanka 5Africa 6Somalia 6Zimbabwe 8Nigeria 8The Caribbean 9Eastern European communities 11Poland 12Kosovo 12Portugal 13Ireland 13Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community 14Middle East/Arab communities 15Turkey 15India 16East African Asians 17Kenyan and Ugandan Asians 18Pakistan 19Bangladesh 20What’s special about Leicester 22Photo Acknowledgements 23Notes and References 24


IntroductionLeicester, as noted by its Council, is a ‘modern 21stcenturyglobal city’ given that it has a historical legacyof migrant settlement and is home to an array of diverseminority ethnic, religious and new migrant communities.Statistics relating to the diversity of its populationspeak for themselves. For example, currently 42% ofLeicester’s population is from a black and minorityethnic (BME) background, the largest proportionately inthe whole of England and Wales, and just over a thirdof its residents were born outside the UK. Twenty-eightpercent of those living in Leicester are of Gujarat Indianheritage, and another large proportion of Leicesterresidents are originally from East Africa. An even greaternumber of Leicester schoolchildren have a minorityethnic background – 57% of them are BME – and 50%of all primary school children in the city speak anotherlanguage at home, compared to just 16% of primaryschool pupils nationally. Home to 240 faith groups across14 different faiths, Leicester hosts 123 Christian placesof worship, 42 mosques, 23 Hindu temples, 2 SikhGurdwaras, 2 Jewish synagogues and 1 Jain temple.Indeed the latter is the first consecrated Jain templeoutside India, and is a much visited architectural wonder.It is little wonder then that Leicester has oftenbeen described as the first city in the UK where itsminority residents are projected soon to become themajority. The movement of groups to and from this cityhas been continuous, with some of its newer arrivalscoming from places that include Zimbabwe, Poland,Portugal, Slovakia, Congo and Iraq. Like other parts ofThe Jain Centrethe UK, Leicester has played host to communities thatare arriving here in response to conflict or as a resultof expulsion, settling in areas where many post-warmigrants, from countries similar to theirs, had alreadyestablished themselves. The impact that its East AfricanAsian communities have made on areas such as Belgraveis notable, but other migrant groups, such as thoseincluded in Cynthia Brown’s oral history collection, 1have spoken about arriving as refugee children from theBasque country in 1936, and settling in areas such asEvington. As with the stories, interviews and films madeby the young people who took part in this project, thesetestimonies shine a light on the experiences of those whohave travelled huge distances, both geographical andemotional, to set up new lives in Leicester and becomepart of its Migration Story.3


ChinaChinese people make up around 1% of the populationof Leicester, with just over 100 new immigrants arrivingeach year. The people of the Chinese community, whoarrived mainly after the 1950s, are well integrated andspread out across all areas of the city. 2 Migrants arrivingin Leicestershire from China in the 1960s did so to seekout better opportunities for themselves and their families,many of them going into catering. 3 Those runningrestaurants and other catering businesses have becomesignificant members of the local community, helping toorganise social events and other activities. In the 1980s,when the agricultural sector collapsed in Hong Kong,there was an increase in the numbers of Chinese peopletravelling to the UK to start businesses. Today, whenmigrants from China come to study in the UK’s manyuniversities, many choose Leicester as a learning centre.Leicester Chinese Christian Church4


MongoliaA small Mongolian population in Leicester is becomingone of the fastest growing in the city. Until the 1990sthe Communist regime had made Mongolia a difficultcountry to travel from. However, the collapse of theSoviet Union in 1991 allowed more freedom of travel,and some Mongolians have since left the country andtravelled to European countries. In 2001, the nationalCensus recorded that there were 299 Mongolians inBritain. Although urban myth asserts that Leicester’ssmall population of Mongolians was founded when oneMongolian man stayed in the International Hotel for aperiod, 4 it is now more reliably recorded that between 50and 100 Mongolians live in Leicester, one of the largestMongolian populations in Britain. 5Sri LankaFlag of MongoliaA small nation south of India, Sri Lanka has been sufferingmany years of civil war, with 25 years of violence betweenwarring ethnic groups. Sri Lankans have recently begun tosettle in Leicester, travelling to the UK either directly fromSri Lanka, or via Germany, 6 and in 2011, 447 children inLeicester schools have been registered as speaking theSri Lankan Tamil dialect. 75


AfricaSomaliaSomalis have been living in the UK sincethe late 19th century, when they cameas seamen or traders. Later on, in the1950s and 1960s, they worked in Britishindustries.In 1991, civil war broke out inSomalia when the president, Siad Barre,was overthrown, leading to a state ofclan warfare. From refugee camps inthe neighbouring countries of Kenya,Ethiopia and Djibouti, many Somaliscame to the UK. This attracted manyother Somalis from around Europe, fromcountries such as the Netherlands orScandinavia.Somali Mother and son MohamedI’m a Somali person and my country is at war, that’s why I cameto the UK. I feel sad, I’ve lost my country, there’s a war in mycountry, people are dying in my country. Obviously it’s not a goodfeeling, but I’m safe that I’m here now.- Somali male interviewee, interviewed by pupilsfrom the Somali Parents and Community Association, Leicester6


The Somali community is the secondlargest migrant community in the UK.Leicester’s Somali immigrants started arrivingin large numbers in 2001, and the city nowhas the largest Somali population outsideLondon, making up about 5% of Leicester’stotal population. Some claim that up to 15,000Somalis arrived in Leicester in the space ofa year. 8 These migrants have come not onlyfrom Somalia, but from Somali communities inEuropean countries such as the Netherlands,France and Germany. They currently livemainly in the St Matthews, Highfields andBeaumont Leys areas of Leicester. 9Flag of SomaliaI came to Britain, from Holland.There was a civil war, causingme to come out of my country lookingfor asylum. The Netherlands grantedme asylum and granted me alsonationality and I’ve been living therefor about 11 years. Then I movedto Leicester with my family and mychildren – first of all when I left fromSomalia I went to Yemen, then toFrance and then to the Netherlands,that was my route and Netherlandswas the first country who grantedme asylum and gave me a home tolive and an education like the Dutchlanguage. When the thought came tomy mind to come to Britain so many ofmy friends and almost all the family ofmy wife were in Britain at that time.I miss my country Somaliabecause that was my native countryand I miss the weather, the food, thepeople, the country – I miss almosteverything especially in the wintertime, I remember my country becausethere is no cold winter at all.- Somali migrant, interviewed byhis son at the Somali Parents andCommunity Association, Leicester7


ZimbabweAfter Zimbabwe gained independence from theBritish in 1980, and later, in the 1990s to early 2000s,migrants came to Britain in very large numbers. In1999, Zimbabwean reforms put into place by thegovernment disrupted the lives of many of its citizens,causing a ‘crisis’ 10 and widespread related violence.As a result of this unrest, between 2001 and 2008 theZimbabwean population in the UK more than tripled. 11Many have settled outside London in citiessuch as Leicester because they already have familyand friends in these locations. Living mainly in theHighfields, Evington and City Centre areas, Leicester’spopulation of Zimbabwean residents was estimatedin 2004 at between 2000 and 3000. 12Highfields, Laurel Road, Leicester 1982NigeriaNigeria is Africa’s most populous country. Since thecountry gained independence from the British in 1960,Nigeria has suffered a catastrophic civil war betweenethnic groups, and continued ethnic violence ever since.Levels of official corruption and the control exercised bygroups of militants have made Nigeria unsafe for some.Prompted to leave Nigeria, some have arrived in the UKand elsewhere. There is now a small Nigerian communityin Leicester, and in 2011, 102 children in Leicester schoolsspoke a Nigerian language or dialect, with Yoruba beingthe most commonly spoken, followed by Ebira and Iqbo. 13Ogungbe Beach, Nigeria8


The CaribbeanIn 2001, the national Census recorded 2841 Caribbeanpeople living in Leicester, 1.01% of the city’s totalpopulation. 14 This number is estimated to have risen to4% (including people of mixed race) of the population ofLeicester by 2007. 15People from the Caribbean have been comingto Britain since the 1670s, but after the Second WorldWar there was a rapid rise in the numbers moving to theUK. Indeed, in 1948 the ship Empire Windrush famouslycarried 493 people from the Caribbean to start a new life inBritain. The labour shortages of the 1950s, as the countrytried to rebuild its infrastructure and economy after the war,encouraged many more to travel to Britain from aroundthe British Empire and Commonwealth. Numbers wereunrestricted, leading to a sharp rise in Caribbean migrantsduring the 1950s, when around 100,000 people movedfrom the Caribbean to Britain. 16During the late 1940s and early 1950s, exservicemenfrom the Caribbean as well as new migrantsfrom the various Caribbean islands began to settle in theHighfields area of Leicester. 17 Nowadays, Caribbeans inLeicester, particularly those of Jamaican descent, are stillto be found living mostly in the Highfields and St Matthewsareas, where they continue to settle. 18 The volcanic eruptionon the island of Montserrat in 1995 was another event thatencouraged people to relocate from the Caribbean to theUK, with many again choosing Leicester for reasons ofproximity to friends, family and community.Over the years, a variety of community spacesand events have been created by Caribbeans settled inLeicester to provide recreational and other forms of supportto all those of Caribbean descent living in the city. TheLeicester Caribbean Cricket Club, established in 1957,played regularly in Victoria Park, both recreationally butalso competitively in the setting up of the Liga Cup, and theannual Caribbean Carnival has been firmly established inLeicester’s programme of cultural events since 1985.Leicester Caribbean Carnival 20089


Writing about the Highfields Rangers, afootball team set up in Highfields by people fromthe Caribbean who had come to live in Leicester inthe 1970s, the oral historian John Williams notedhow the historical emergence of this particularfootball club reflected the wider history of the Blackcommunity in the city. 19 The team eventually becamean African-Caribbean voluntary organization and animportant part of the Highfields community, providingopportunities for young people seeking work, andplaying a large part in trying to access resourcesfor community members following the streetdisturbances in that part of the city in 1981.Coming here, most peopleresided in one particular area[and] at the time a lot of theCaribbean community movedto the area of Highfields – soyou could go down the road andmeet another person, they mightnot be from the same Caribbeanisland but they were eitherfrom Jamaica, Barbados. Noteverybody knew much about usand vice versa – our accent wasdifferent to the EnglishLanguage, and in the1960s there were a lotof things happening.- Stuart Miller, interviewed by pupilsat Judgemeadow CommunityCollege, LeicesterJudgemeadow Community College10


Eastern European communitiesAt the end of the 19th century, Russian Jewish refugeesarrived in Leicester. They were joined in the 1930s byother European Jews – those who were fleeing NaziGermany. This community settled in the Highfields area ofthe city, and at its peak comprised about 1000 people. 20When Britain advertised a European voluntaryworking service after the Second World War, many singlemen were prompted to leave their home countries andcome to the UK to work. Czech refugees were one of thedisplaced groups who came to Leicester from Europeafter Hitler’s invasion of the Sudeten lands. They wereassisted by members of the Left Book Club, who providedlanguage support and social events for their community.A personal testimony from one such refugee tells thestory of his journey to and settlement in Leicester fromhis home country of Lithuania. Mr Kvietkaushaus was inAustria when the Second World War ended in 1945, andwas encouraged by the authorities to return to Lithuania,his home country. As Lithuania was at that time occupiedby the Soviet Union, he refused to go back. This refusalmeant he became a refugee, and found himself held in anex-army camp. During their time in such camps, refugeeswould find themselves recruited to work in Britainand other countries by representatives of companieslooking for factory workers and other personnel. MrKvietkaushaus found a place to work first in Manchesterand then in Leicester, where he eventually settled. 21The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 made travelaround Europe easier, and the inclusion of EasternEuropean countries in the EU (2004 and 2007 respectively)enabled 6000 to 8000 22 people from countries includingPoland, Albania, Bosnia and Slovakia to come to Leicesterfor work. Eastern Europeans in Leicester have settledmainly in the areas of Fosse, Narborough Road, Evington,Inner City and East Park Road.11


Free newspapers in PolishPolandPolish people came to Leicester as exiles around1939, at the beginning of the Second WorldWar, and have continued to settle in the city eversince. After the war, many Polish men servingwith the British army found they could not returnto Poland, as by then it had been occupiedby the Soviet Union. As a result, many Poles(130,000) settled in the UK. 23 Living mostly in theHighfields area of Leicester, the community setup a Polish church and a Polish club there, bothstill in use.The Polish community that put downits roots at that time has since attracted newerPolish migrants wanting to settle here. SincePoland became a member of the EU in 2004,the numbers coming from Poland to the UK havegrown exponentially. Mainly economic migrants insearch of opportunities not to be found in Poland,their numbers today, together with other Europeanmigrants arriving since 2004, have been estimatedat between 6000 and 8000. 24KosovoWhen the War in Kosovo, 1998–1999, made many peoplerefugees, a Humanitarian Evacuation Programme wasset up to safely resettle them in other parts of the world.Leicester was one of the first cities in the UK to take inpeople under this programme, and a Kosovan communityhas been developing in Leicester ever since. 2512


PortugalThe Portuguese community is relatively new to Leicester.Between 2005 and 2010, it is estimated that 640 migrantsfrom Portugal have arrived and settled in the city, thefourth highest number of new migrants, exceeded onlyby those from Poland, India and the Slovak Republic. 26Portuguese communities live mainly on the west sideof the city, and the local authority notes that there arecurrently two such communities in Leicester. The first aremigrants from Portugal, and the second are migrants fromDaman, a Portuguese principality situated on the westcoast of India. Whilst these latter individuals and familiesare Indian, their passports are Portuguese, and about 370children attending schools in the city report Portuguese tobe their first language.Portugal is a fairly stable country, with animperial past, which has recently been suffering a seriesof economic difficulties. Migrants to Leicester fromPortugal are generally economic migrants, seeking careeradvancement or further opportunities.IrelandThe Irish community is one of the longest-establishedmigrant communities in Britain. The 2001 national Censusrecorded 3602 Irish people as living in Leicester, 27though this is generally thought to underestimate thetrue numbers. It was after the industrial revolution of thelate 19th century that many came from Ireland to Britainlooking for work. Migration has continued steadily fromthat point into the 1980s and 1990s, since when a ‘newwave’ of Irish immigrants has been arriving to study, or tofurther their careers.Flag of Ireland13


Gypsy, Roma andTraveller ComunityIn 2010, there were approximately 2000-3000 gypsy andtraveller people in Leicester and Leicestershire. 28 Theylive in houses, as well as on authorised and unauthorisedcaravan sites in Braunstone, New Parks and BeaumontLeys. There has been a Gypsy and Traveller presence inLeicestershire for over 500 years, since around the timeof the first official record of a Romany Gypsy in the UK,which was noted in the Scottish court of King James in1505.English and Irish travellers make up the majorityof the Gypsy and Traveller community in Leicester. Irishtravellers have been migrating to Britain since the 19thcentury and have their own cultural practices and dialects.The Roma community have most recently arrivedin Leicester from parts of Eastern Europe, includingSlovakia and the Czech Republic in the early 2000s, andthey number between 700 and 800. 29 The Roma peoplehistorically originated in India and are now distributedacross both central and eastern Europe. However, whilstGypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have been inBritain for many hundreds of years, they can still sufferdiscrimination in their day-to-day life here. Indeed, aGypsy, Roma or Traveller person may find it hard toaccess employment and healthcare, or be free to enjoytheir own way of life, whether nomadic or not.Roma children playing in the street14


Middle East / Arab CommunitiesIn Leicester the Middle Eastern communities are few in numbercompared with the Indian or Caribbean communities. In 2009,it was estimated that 1000 Kurdish and Iraqi people were livingin Leicester, and 500 Afghanis. 30 They were living mainly in theHighfields, City Centre and New Parks areas of the city. 31Erbil, IraqTurkeyPeople from Turkey are reckoned toconstitute one of the biggest migrantgroups in Europe overall. In responseto unemployment and conflict, Turkishpeople have been migrating to theUK in relatively small numbers sincethe 1940s. The 2001 national Censusrecorded 1404 Turkish people living inthe East Midlands in that year. 32Spices in Turkey15


IndiaAs with the present-day countries of Bangladesh andPakistan, people from India have been settling in the UKfor centuries. Principally, they have been leaving areas thatexperienced unrest during the Independence strugglesand the years that followed Partition in 1947.A different kind of mobility is found amongpeople from the Gujarat area of India, who have beentravelling the world for centuries, exporting goods such ascotton and other textiles to the Middle East. From the 17thcentury onwards, these trading routes became importantto many European nations, Britain among them, in theprocess of establishing their own trade links with India.When Britain colonised India, more links wereestablished and employment opportunities emerged asIndian soldiers travelled to the UK with some regularity.Indeed, seeking jobs on the merchant fleets, boatmenfrom some regions of north-western India began to assert‘a virtual monopoly as engine-room stokers on Britishships sailing out of Bombay and Karachi’. 33After the Second World War and India’sIndependence, more people travelled to the UK to work,particularly in the 1960s. In Leicester, Indians settledmainly in the Spinney Hills and Belgrave areas, whereaffordable housing could still be found. 34 Abdul Haq,for example, came to Leicester from India in 1938, andintended to return in 1947, but the social upheavalsassociated with the Partition of India at this time meantthat his family lost their home and possessions. When thefamily then moved from India to Pakistan in order to makea new home, a return to India became an impossibility. 35I came to England in 1993because my husband isa British citizen so after mywedding I came to join him. Myhusband lived in Leicester beforeand his family is here. The lifehere is very different from India– I was 39 when I came here so itwas really hard in the beginningto settle down and to understandthe lifestyle and things like that.I would like to go back after myretirement, a few months thereand a few months here, butmy kids don’t want to go back,they just want to stay here!- Dinesh Kaur, interviewed by pupils fromJudgemeadow Community CollegePeople from the Daman area of India haverecently begun to migrate to Leicester. This area wasruled by the Portuguese for 450 years, and many peoplefrom this part of the world have Portuguese passportsand speak the language too.Today, the Indian inhabitants of Leicester are itslargest ethnic minority, at an estimated 72,000 people, 28%of Leicester’s total population. 36 With an estimated 1000to 1500 people migrating to Leicester each year, thesenumbers are still growing, increasing the vibrancy of thismidlands city, as prominent Indian festivals, such as Diwaliand Vaisakhi, attract tens of thousands of visitors every year.16


East African AsiansThe arrival of East African Asians in Leicester in the 1970swas part of a longer history of migration that beganat the time of colonial rule in India, when people weremoved to other British colonial territories like Kenya andUganda to support major infrastructure projects. 37 Around30,000 Indians were transported to East Africa from the1860s onwards, working on the railways and other publicconstructions. Many Indians returned home at the end oftheir contract, but approximately 7000 stayed on in EastAfrica; meanwhile others from the Gujarat coast travelledto this part of Africa to take advantage of its increasingeconomic opportunities.When, however, during the 1970s–1980s theformer British colonial territories in East Africa gainedindependence, they sought to create a strong senseof national identity for Africans. Kenya and Ugandaimplemented ‘Africanisation’ policies designed to ensurethat government, business and other influential positionswere filled by Africans, making life difficult for thoseAsians who had become successful, and thereby forcingmany of them to leave. Asians (mainly Gujarati Indians)living in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania began toleave these countries, as the new government policiesincluded restrictions on trade.I moved to this country in 1976. It was a major upheaval for us,because we had to just pack up and come and that was becauseMalawi the country where I was born was being run by a dictator, DrDavid Banda, and he decided, political decision, to shut down some ofthe smaller towns, and Asians could only trade in the bigger towns. Somy dad decided, when our shop had to be shut down, that it would be toodifficult to start up again and he thought we’ll just pack up and have anew start and that’s why we came to England and we came to Leicester.I missed Malawi initially when I first came over but I don’t miss it nowbecause I’ve more or less grown up here. I missed the weather – Iused to live in a little village where there was a stream at the backand we’d go fishing and rockclimbing. I missed that but not now.- Shabir Aboobaker, interviewed by Khadija, Sarabjeet and Meerab,Judgemeadow Community College, Leicester17


Kenyan and Ugandan AsiansBetween 1965 and 1967, around 23,000 people of Indianorigin were forced to leave Kenya following restrictionsplaced on them by Jomo Kenyatta, the leader of thenewly independent Kenyan government. Concerns aboutthe numbers of Kenyan Asians fleeing to Britain werelegislated for in the Commonwealth Immigration Act of1968, preventing those not directly descended from aBritish-born person from moving to the UK.On 26 August 1972, the military leader ofUganda, Idi Amin, gave all Asians living there a deadlineof 9 November for leaving the country. Many Asianswho had become successful and wealthy while living inUganda were forced to move away, leaving behind theirhomes and businesses. Around 30,000 chose to comefirst to England, 38 and between 1968 and 1978Leicester received more than 20,000 displacedEast African Asians. 39Before the migrants arrived there wasa degree of panic in the city as to whether theycould cope with such an influx of people allat once. 40 One of the consequences of thispanic was that Judgemeadow CommunityCollege in Leicester was forced to open itsdoors in 1972, earlier than planned. Originallydesigned as a girl’s grammar, the schoolopened in a half-built state in order to caterfor the number of Ugandan Asians who cameto settle in Leicester. 41 Local concern aboutthe arrival of so many migrants from EastAfrica is also reflected in an advert LeicesterCity Council placed in the Ugandan Argus,urging those hoping to settle in Leicester notto do so: ‘In your own interests and those of your familyyou should accept the advice of the Uganda ResettlementBoard and not come to Leicester’. 42However, those coming to Leicester did so to joinrelatives and friends among the Gujarati Hindu populationalready settled in parts of the city. Ugandan Asians havesettled in the Rushey Mead, Milton Road and Belgraveareas in particular, making very successful lives forthemselves, and turning what was once a declining partof the city into what is now known as the ‘Golden Mile’, asymbol of the achievements that diverse and multiculturalsettlement can bring about.Belgrave Road Shops18


PakistanBritain’s Pakistani community is one of the largest andmost prominent internationally, and with one of thelongest histories of migration to Britain. Early migrantscame here in the 10th century; but in the 20th century,two major events can be said to have contributed to themore recent migrations from Pakistan to the UK. The firstis the Partition of India, in 1947, when Pakistan (East andWest) was created, and the second is the construction ofthe Mangla Dam in the 1960s.The formation of Pakistan in 1947 was enactedwith considerable violence, and about a million people arethought to have lost their lives in the process. 43 In addition,it is estimated that around 8 million people were lefthomeless through being moved across the new borders,in either direction, as a consequence of the division ofthe country. As a result, many decided to leave the Indiansubcontinent altogether to make a new home elsewhere.It is estimated that 75% of the Pakistani migrants whocame to the UK before 1970 were from areas directlyaffected by Partition. 44 These areas include the NorthernPunjab, Mirpur and the much-disputed Kashmir.In the 1950s, migration from the former colonieswas encouraged in order to fulfil post-war labour needs;and many economic migrants from rural areas of Pakistancame to Britain with the intention of returning whenthey had saved some money. When work began on theMangla Dam in 1966, many villages were flooded, makingthousands of people homeless. Having been encouragedby the Pakistani government to look for work in the UK,many responded and made the move. As with Indian andBangladeshi migrants, the majority of those who came toBritain to help fulfil its post-war labour requirements weresingle men whose families joined them later.At this time of post-war need for workers,migrants from India and Pakistan who came to Leicesterbegan to settle in the Spinney Hill and Belgrave areaswhere private housing was more affordable. Todaythe Pakistani community in Leicester is relativelysmall, amounting in 2009 to about 2% of Leicester’sinhabitants, 45 living mostly in the Highfields area. 46 In the2001 national Census, 11% of the population, a largeproportion of whom are Bangladeshi and Pakistani bydescent, defined themselves as Muslim.Majid Umar Mosque19


BangladeshFormerly called East Pakistan, Bangladesh can be saidto have gained its Independence only recently, havingbeen occupied by the British until 1947, and been part ofPakistan until 1971 when it broke away.When the UK was experiencing a sharp rise inits need for workers following the Second World War,migrants had arrived from all over the Indian subcontinent,East Pakistan included. These were mainly poorermen, who came alone as they could not afford to bringtheir families with them. In the 1960s, these workerswere joined by their relatives, who created Bangladeshicommunities all over the UK, establishing their own placesof worship, education and community centres.Most of the people from Bangladesh who live inLeicester (indeed in the UK as a whole) are originally fromthe region of Sylhet. Some of these men worked as chefson the ships that brought them, using that experience togo on to set up or work in many of the UK’s successful‘Indian’ restaurants. In 2007, it was estimated thatLeicester’s population is approximately 1% Bangladeshi. 47In the 2001 national Census, 11% of this population,mainly of Bangladeshi and Pakistani descent, definedthemselves as Muslim.I was born in Bangladesh in 1979. I’ve actually celebrated Eid backin Bangladesh and that’s always been my favourite memory becauseall my family is there. It’s very difficult for first generation immigrantssuch as myself who moved to the UK because we’ve left a lot of familybehind. Back in Bangladesh when you have festivities such as Eid,you don’t have that family – you have your immediate family but youruncles, aunties and your cousins, you don’t get to see them, so when Igo back to Bangladesh, I do enjoy having that family atmosphere. Thewhole country celebrates Eid so all the programmes on TV have a themeof whatever it is that you’re celebrating. All the shops get decorated,the streets get decorated, literally the whole country is celebratingtogether, so even people you don’t know, you’re congratulating themthat it’s Eid. I miss my family but I don’t miss Bangladesh enough thatI would want to move there, I like to visit now and then.- Saiful Islam Chowdhury interviewed by pupils at Judgemeadow Community College20


What’s special about Leicester22The clear ethnic and religious diversity foundamong those living, working and studying inLeicester marks this city out as somewhere witha particularly interesting migration story. Thejourneys made by some of its largest minorityethnic groups, including those expelled fromEast Africa during the 1970s and their successfulcontributions to the identity of the city, are certainlyworth noting, as are the stories of movement toldby some of its newer arrivals, including thosefrom parts of West and North Africa, from EasternEurope and elsewhere. Many of these journeysare replicated in other parts of Britain, but certainlythe identity of Highfields, Evington, Spinney Hillsand Belgrave among other parts of Leicesterare indelibly marked with the presence, thepersonalities and the experiences of the migrantswho have journeyed and settled there. As MarieClare-Bayle, born in the south-west of France andone of the teachers at Judgemeadow CommunityCollege, told her interviewers Sohail and Kamal,Leicester has now become her home, somewhereshe commends to family and friends, and a placerich with diversity and warmth:BelgraveNeighbourhood CentreLeicesterTrain Station‘I am from the south-west of France,a city called Toulouse, and I came toEngland more than 10 years ago and theonly thing I knew about England was theexperience I had through school. I wasn’tused to English food, I wasn’t used toEnglish weather! But I loved Englandstraightaway, I loved the countryside, Ilove the people. I found that it was veryopen minded. The community here (inLeicester) is very mixed, I think that’swhat I liked the most about coming here,lots of different nationalities, lots ofdifferent cultures and I think everybodyis living very well together and I think thepeople are so friendly, so welcoming.I’ve always had people who arevery curious about my experience asa French person so I really like thecommunity here. I always encouragemy French family to come to Leicesterduring the religious celebrationespecially during Diwali because wedon’t celebrate Diwali at all in Franceand it’s very special. Come withan open mind, to embrace thedifferences, to get to know people.’


Photo AcknowledgementsRunnymede would like to thank the following people for permission toinclude their photographs in this publication:Front Cover Gallowtree Gate, Leicester 1917Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Leicester Market, 2010 © Matt Neale http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattneale/4912478629/in/photostream/Leicester Space Centre © Jim Monk - jimbo0307http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmonk/6208728364/Jain Temple, Leicester, 2006. © Ned Trifle http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedtrifle/140832388/Leicester Chinese Christian Church formerly ‘TheLyric’ cinema, Clarendon Park Road, Leicester2008. © Ned Trifle http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedtrifle/2397935261/Flag of Mongolia, 2009. © Nick Farnhill http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Mongolia.jpg; Map of Sri Lanka © Ruslan OlinchukSomali Mother and son Mohamed, 2011 © OxfamInternational http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/6188587438/Flag of Somalia © Davoust LaurentOgunge Beach, Nigeria, 2009. © txomsy http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrvalverde/3787872761/in/photostream/; Highfields, Laurel Road, Leciester1982. © Chris Pyrah http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisdpyrah/6773998232/Page 9 Leicester Caribbean Carnival 2008. ©Brian Negus http://www.flickr.com/photos/briannegus/2728840538/Page 10Page 11Judgemeadow Community College, 2012 © DebbieWeekes-BernardEvington Footway, 2008 © Ned Trifle http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedtrifle/2441052715/Page 12 Polish Migration – newspapers in England, 2007 ©Andrew Sorenson, http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_sorense/473114759/Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 18Page 19Page 20/21Page 22Page 23 – 24Back CoverMap of Ireland © Davoust LaurentRoma children playing in the street, Istanbul,Turkey 2007 © John Brock http://www.flickr.com/photos/31266144@N00/421194009/Spices in Turkey, 2006. © Guillaume http://www.flickr.com/photos/guillaumebalas/342407942/; Erbil, Iraq,2012. © Volkan Yilmaz http://www.flickr.com/photos/onbilisim/7053252057/Belgrave Road shops, formerly the Natraj Cinema,2010. © Ned Trifle, http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedtrifle/5103571494/Masjid Umar Mosque, Evington Drive, Leicester,2008 © Ned Trifle http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedtrifle/2624344123/Bazaar © Annu JalaisArrival at Leicester Train station, 2008. © R~P~Mhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/rpmarks/3144938753/;Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Belgrave Road,2010. © Ned Trifle, http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedtrifle/5099870168/in/set-72157625084860571/Six images of Leicester communities: image 1 (seepage 20/21 acknowledgement); image 2 Flag Seller,Leicester Carnival 2009 © dexter_mixwith, http://www.flickr.com/photos/dexter_mixwith/3786363036/;image 3 (see page 10 acknowledgement); image4 (see page 9 acknowledgement); image 5 (seefront page acknowledgement); image 6 (see frontpage acknowledgement); image 7 (see page 14acknowledgement); image 8 Silver Street, Leicester© Walwyn http://www.flickr.com/photos/overton_cat/1855661392/(see page 23 – 24 image 8 acknowledgement)Every care has been taken to trace and acknowledge copyright.Runnymede apologises for any accidental infringement or wherecopyright has proved to be untraceable.23

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