Generations of Learning is delighted to announce a new collaboration with the 37th Willesden Scout Group, The Nomads.
Led by Nick, Noura, and Valentina, the Neasden-based group have taken on the challenge of planning and delivering memory sharing events over the summer.
Exciting and creative ideas are already emerging, with a speed-dating style social to give Elders and youngers the chance to share memories and stories about migration in the local area. There is even talk of a magician…
The FREE events are being planned for Friday 31 August and Saturday 15 & 29 September, so watch this space for more exciting details.
In the meantime, archive research completed by members of the local history society uncovered a story from 1965 of a young Scout from Neasden, John O’Shaunessy, who was awarded a Queen’s Scout Badge. The article, from the Willesden Chronicle of 1 January, reveals that the local Scouts work with Elders goes back some way, noting that the Scouts had been hosting an Old Age Pensioners dinner when John was presented with his award.
This week Sorcha, the project lead, and Alistair Lambert, the project artist were invited to talk at Our Lady of Grace junior school in Dollis Hill.
With the amazing assistance of Margaret O’Mullane, teacher and talented artist in her own right, and the support of the school staff, pupils have been working over the past few weeks to create an artwork for the project.
Sorcha gave a short presentation at the school assembly to update everyone on the project, and Alistair excitingly unveiled the almost-finished Migration sculpture.
The artwork will be premiered at our Summer exhibition, which will travel to community venues around the area. Info will be posted on our Events page.
Our Lady of Grace recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The school grew to accommodate the children of migrants, including many Irish who came to the area in the 1960s. Local tradition tells that many Irish men were involved in the construction of new school buildings.
If you were one of the men involved in construction work, or have a story about the early days of the school, please get in touch. Call Sorcha on 0208 208 8590.
We have been busy filming, recording, and photographing Elders telling their stories with the project.
These stories will be presented in an exhibition, travelling around Cricklewood and Brent over the Summer. They will also be collected into a formal archive that will become a resource for future generations.
The archive will be made up of audio recordings of the Elders sharing their memories.
We are also hoping to collect photos and memorabilia relating to the Irish and Pakistani communities in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Do you have anything you could share with us?
Perhaps this is an old photograph, or a newspaper clipping. Maybe you have an old ticket to a dance at the Galtymore or to the showing of a Bollywood hit at the State cinema.
If you have a programme from a sporting event, such as when the Pakistan cricket team visited London, or the Gaelic football was played at Wembley in 1965, we would love to see it.
You might even have held on to your tickets or boarding passes when you first came to the UK – if so, you’ve done a better job that the government might have done!
If you would be willing to give, loan, or let us take copies of your memorabilia, this will help us preserve and share the stories of the post-war migration generation.
Please get in touch with us below.
We are continuing to record the stories of Pakistani and Irish migrants who have memories of the Cricklewood area in the 1950s and 1960s, so drop us a line if you’d like to talk.
As we continue with work to record the oral histories of the Elder generation of migrants, we are also working with the younger generation to celebrate immigration.
One project is bringing together a local artist, Alistair Lambert, with primary school pupils to create a new artwork on the theme of migration stories. The piece will feature in our travelling exhibition over the Summer.
Our Lady of Grace junior school in Dollis Hill welcomes children from many different backgrounds, to create a friendly and encouraging learning environment. This children are part of the continuing story of migration to the British isles.
The story stretches back some 2,000 years, to the times of the Romans. Then, people from across the empire – from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East – settled and built lives in Britannia, alongside the ancient Britons.
Some 1.500 years ago, waves of Germanic peoples, the Saxons, came to England, integrating with the British. And 500 years later, Normans from France established themselves in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. The 1600s brought French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution and then Dutch merchants, accompanying the new king, William of Orange. Many modern English families also have Dutch and French heritage as a result of these migrations.
The 19th century welcomed significant new communities of Irish people, Jews from Eastern Europe, and Italians. Smaller communities from India (which then included the area that would become Pakistan), Africa, and Yemen grew around the ports, especially Hull and Cardiff, as the growth of the British Empire increased global sea trade. The cultural diversity of the port cities of Glasgow and London reflect the diversity of the empire.
In the 20th century Irish migration continued to grow, even after independence in 1922. And in the years after the end of the Second World War in 1945, thousands were invited to come and help Britain rebuild, especially from countries in the West Indies, India, Pakistan.
The children at Our Lady of Grace include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these settlers, alongside children who have arrived more recently from Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa. And many children have mixed heritage, as blended families share Irish, English, African, and European roots. They are the latest chapter in the on-going story of Britain.
Last week the Generations of Learning project was lucky enough to be invited to speak to the ladies group at the Pakistani Community Centre in Willesden.
Many of those present had stories of coming to the Cricklewood area to join husbands who’d come in the 1960s.
In the 1950s and 1960s, it was common for young Irish men and women to come on their own, or with friends or siblings to being their new life in London. Many couples recall meeting and falling in love in the youth clubs and dance halls, with the popular refrain being that many marriages were started in the Galtymore.
For the Pakistani men, many of whom expected to return home, they often left their families in Pakistani, often only reuniting with them after several years. While their children and husbands were able to more easily integrate into their new lives, through work and school, it wasn’t as easy for the women when they arrived in London.
Coming together as a group to learn English and study the Quran was an important way to build a sense of community. The ladies remembered cooking together for events at the PCC was a chance to share jokes and news, and they still come together every week to share a meal. In a perfect blend of their old homes in Pakistan and their new home in Britain, we were treated to a delicious dahl and homemade trifle.
We will be interviewing some of the ladies and discovering more of their stories in the coming weeks.We will also be holding an informal reminiscence session at the PCC on 23 March. Visit our Events page for more details.
If you are part of the Irish or Pakistani community and have a story to share of coming to Cricklewood, please drop us a line below.
Our interviews with the Pakistani community got off to a great start as Mr Tariq Dar spent the morning sharing his memories of his life in Cricklewood.
The young Tariq came to Cricklewood from the Punjab in 1965. He joined his father and his uncle who had been working in London since the 1950s. Tariq recalled his days at John Kelly Technical College (now Crest Boy’s Academy), playing cricket in Gladstone Park, and watching movies at the State Cinema in Kilburn. The cinema had special weekend showings, often on a Sunday, of the hit movies from Pakistan and India. Films were often shown alongside newsreels from home, and the wrestling results were eagerly awaited.
As an adult, Mr Dar has made a significant contribution both to the Pakistani community and the wider Cricklewood community, from supporting fund-raising for the first purpose-built mosque in the area, to tree planting in the park he played in as a boy, to improve the environment for future generations.
The interview was filmed at the Pakistan Community Centre, next door to the Central Mosque of Brent. The centre developed from the workers organisations of the 1950s, set up to support the early migrant workers who came to Cricklewood from Pakistan. It now hosts everything from women’s meetings to community events.
During the interview, Tariq recalled: “The way the community works has changed. We are thinking more outside the box now. We still do cultural events in the community, but we are well integrated into British society. We are part and parcel of the community.”
We are looking forward to organising some fun events with the PCC over the summer, so keep an eye on our events page!
Mr Dar’s interview will feature in the Generations of Learning exhibition this summer, and will be given to Brent Museum and Archives to form part of the permanent archive. We are continuing to interview people to capture their stories. If you came to London from Pakistan or Ireland and have memories of Cricklewood in the 1950s or 1960s, we would love to hear from you.
With the first oral history interviews recorded*, we are starting to plan the ways we will be sharing the stories with local people.
We are really looking forward to working with Saira Niazi, founder of Living London and leader of fun explorations of hidden London. Saira will be working with the project to develop walking tours around Cricklewood, decorating the modern landscape with the memories of our Elders.
Details of the tour dates will be published on our Events page.
An International Studies graduate from Goldsmiths, Saira has over ten years experience in community engagement, project leadership and creative communications. She’s worked with communities across London from Nepalese gardeners in Plumstead to urban skaters in Fulham on various oral history, film and heritage projects. Through Living London, she has explored photographed, and written about over 1500 hidden London gems, and regularly leads guided tours across different areas of London.
Saira loves discovering new places, collecting stories and connecting communities. We can’t wait for the summer!
*Come back next week for news on the stories that have started to emerge.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of our project Film Maker, who will be producing a short film on the Generations of Learning project.
Dominique Murphy-de Neef is an up and coming documentary film maker and mixed-media artist. She already has many credits to her name, in genres including comedy fiction and alternative cinema. Her most recent film SANCTIONED, a powerful short documentary, was nominated for Best World Short Film at IndieCork 2017 .
Dominique has Irish and Dutch heritage and recently graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. She is looking forward to creating a film that celebrates the contributions migrants have made to Cricklewood, London, and beyond.
The film will feature Elders who have volunteered to share their migrant story with the project. If you are from the Pakistani or Irish community and migrated to Cricklewood in the 1950s or 1960s and would like to take part, please get in touch at the details below. You don’t need to be still living in the area, as we are keen to record the variety of personal journeys before, during, and after Cricklewood.
We are also still looking for young volunteers interested in being part of the project.