• Britain today is culturally and racially a very
• London - the most international city in the
• Communities from all over the world co-
• British seen as very tolerant and open-
• What is the real picture? Does this apply to
the whole UK?
• Has it always been like this?
• "We celebrate the diversity in our country, get
strength from the cultures and the races that
go to make up Britain today." Prime Minister
Tony Blair, 2 October 2001
• : "Far from being something which impacts
upon UK life I see [diversity] as something
that revitalises us and makes us powerful
economically.“ N London headteacher
Interviews from the Broadwater
Estate in Tottenham
• So it fell to one of the estate's oldest residents to
explain its new allure. Mary Kemp, 82, has lived on
the estate with her husband, Bill, since it was
opened. She said: "We moved here from a house
with no bathroom. It was like a holiday camp and that
remains the case. We are pure English and do you
know what that means? It means being tolerant of
people, regardless of colour or creed. It means
embracing people who are different from you. That's
why we stayed here."
• Jennifer Kamara, 35, a mother-of-four who has lived
on the estate for 12 years since coming to Britain
from the civil war in Sierra Leone, said: "This is not
paradise on earth, we still have the same problems
as anywhere else, but people have been given back
their purpose and dignity. The kids have their free
time occupied and we enjoy the fact that so many
different cultures are here. My neighbours are
Turkish, my kids walk to school with their
Bangladeshi friends. We are one big family on
• In spite of an image of Britain and the British
being very tolerant, it has always been a very
mixed picture, as it is now.
• Remember the Celts, Romans, Anglo
Saxons, Vikings and Normans
• During one of these phases part of
Britain did become quite multi-cultural
and multi-racial - Which? Why?
• Britain became part of an extensive
empire and so developed ties and
connections with other parts of the
Roman Empire as far as N Africa and
• Soldiers, sailors, merchants, slaves
• What happened when the Romans left?
• England became much more mono-
cultural and was once again an isolated
outpost of Europe - though it was visited
by Christian missionaries.
• As part of the Christian ‘Empire’ literacy
developed and ‘Old English’ became an
advanced written language.
1066 – What happened?
• Norman invasion – William brought some of the Jews
from Rouen, merchants and ‘financiers’.
• Jewish quarter in London
• Then expelled in 1283
• Did not return until the 1660s – Cromwell
• From then until today Jews have established a very
strong presence, especially in London, so they can
be described as the oldest migratory group in the UK.
• For much of that time, they had to endure a stigma
and were often not fully accepted into society – often
• What reasons for this?
• The Jews kept their own faith, distinct from
• Christians perceived them as the people responsible
for the death of Jesus.
• Within Christian society they were permitted to
practise one profession, which was forbidden to
• Money lending, or what we would today call ?
• Which famous Shakespearean character was a Jew?
Shylock – ‘The Merchant of Venice’
Origin of the well known phrase, ‘a pound of flesh’.
• Why did Cromwell invite Jews from Spain and
Portugal to return to England?
• Was it Christian benevolence?
• It was to help the English economy.
• This was a new start which saw some Jews
become very successful bankers, and
reinforce their reputation for being very good,
and mean, with money.
• This became a very negative stereotype and
provoked great envy at times of economic
• The most famous name?
Other Influences - The 16th C
• After a very long interval England was
entering the modern age and looking
outwards, showing interest in the wider world
• The age of exploration, naval strength (and
piracy), growing international trade (including
the beginning of the slave trade)
• Elizabeth 1 - ‘the divers blackamoors brought
into these realms, of which there already too
• But the next significant group came from
somewhere much nearer and for different
• The Hugenots from France - any ideas?
• They were from France in the 17th C.
• What was the biggest problem issue in
Europe at this time?
• So why would thousands of French
come to England because of religion?
• What were the main religions of
England and France?
• They were Protestants in a largely
Catholic country – the reverse situation
from Catholics in England.
• The Edict of Nantes had granted
French Protestants limited rights of
worship – better than England
• In 1685 Louis XIV revoked this edict
• Charles II had issued a proclamation inviting
any who wished to come to England
• About 20,000 came to London, but settled
outside the City, notably in Spitalfields and
• Soho was described as 'abounding with
French so that it is an easy matter for a
stranger to imagine himself in France'.
• They were from all walks of life but included
many skilled craftsmen, especially silk
weavers, clockmakers, jewellers, silver
• They did have a significant impact on London
• Generally sympathetically received – why
might that be?
• Religious affinities – fellow Protestants and
‘enemies of Rome’
• But the welcome was not universal – why
might that be?
Fournier Street was named after
a man of Huguenot extraction.
• Why did they live outside of the boundaries of
the City of London?
• It was cheaper, but also the Guilds ??
• A little like modern Trades Unions – unless
you were a member you could not practise
your trade inside the city boundaries.
• The Hugenots were resented by some for
offering ‘cheap labour’
• The French communities in the capital differed
markedly from one another. The largest, in
Spitalfields, depended heavily on the weaving
trade. The most remote, at Wandsworth, was
notable for its hatmakers...the common factor
bringing them together was their market, for the
English gentry coming to Parliament or the royal
courts welcomed the opportunity to acquire the
latest in French fashions.
• Tessa Murdoch (ed.) 'The Quiet Conquest: The
Huguenots 1685 to 1985',
The Legacy Today
• Over time they assimilated into British
society, spoke English, took up the
Church of England.
• A quarter of Londoners have some
• Architecture and churches, street and
also family names
• The relationship between England/Britain
and Ireland is long, complex and troubled.
• Irish presence in England goes back to
medieval times, but very limited.
recognisable Irish district in St Giles, near
Oxford St, 18th
big wave of Irish migration was in the
1840s – why?
• The Great Famine.
• The Irish were unlike the French Hugenots in
some important ways ??
• They were Catholic
• Many were unskilled and uneducated and so
very poor – not a racial stereotype, but a
reflection of the social system imposed by the
• They came in much greater numbers.
• By 1851 there were 108,500 Irish-born people
in London, as well others of Irish descent.
• What did they do?
Scene with many men constructing a dock.
In the centre is a large dug out section of
• The age of the ‘Irish
• The Irish provided
the ‘muscle’ during
the transformation of
Britain during the
the construction of
•detail from Work by Ford Madox Brown
• During and just after WW2 the Irish
population expanded again and they became
the largest ‘foreign’ group.
• However, there have often been tensions –
religion, jobs, living conditions/large families,
suspected IRA connections/sympathies
• Nowadays no real problems, many families
go back several generations.
• March 17th??
• St Patrick’s day - big celebrations in many
places - lots of Guiness!
The Jews - recent events
• In the 1880s and 90s, thousands of
Jews fled from Russia, where Jews
were being persecuted in ‘pogroms’.
• Many settled in London, especially the
East End, still outside of the City, and
with cheaper housing and an existing
• 1930s - another wave - why?
• Events in Europe, especially Germany, the
rise of Hitler and his stirring up of anti-
Semitism resulting in the Holocaust.
• Many were highly qualified but forced to take
unskilled jobs - university professors as
• Echo of Germany - British Fascist Party -
Oswald Mosely and his blackshirts.
• Battle of
• Today settled and flourishing - many
have moved to more prosperous N
London areas, Golders Green
• Jewish Museum in Camden, Holocuast
section in Imperial War Museum
• Some worrying signs of anti-Semitism -
linked to anti-Israel feelings and radical
• So we come full circle
• Break up of British Empire
• Britain needed rebuilding
• Groups arrived, especially from Caribbean,
India and Pakistan, Africa - communities
established, not without tensions - National
• Naturally people lived together -
‘ghettoiasation’ hindered integration.
• Some went the other way - Australia for a
Enoch Powell – ‘Rivers of Blood’
speech - 1968
• Here is a decent, ordinary fellow-Englishman, who in broad
daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament,
that the country will not be worth living in for his children. I
simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think
about something else. What he is saying, thousands and
hundreds of thousands are saying and thinking – not throughout
Great Britain, perhaps, but in the areas that are already
undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel
in a thousand years of English history.
• Commission for Racial Equality
• Equality and Human Rights
• People from all over the world - many fleeing
wars and persecution, seeking asylum
• Hardly a single country without its own
community in London - witness the World
• Expansion of EU opened borders to people
from E Europe
Week 5 trip
• Tuesday November 2nd
– meet outside
the gift shop at the Tower of London at
• Class register will be taken, this is not