Every year the Catholic church celebrates a World Day of Migrants, which this year took place on 14 January.
The event encourages a more welcoming attitude towards migrants, recognising their achievements. With increased migration as global conflict forces people to leave their homes in search of peace, safety, and a better life for their families, ‘migrant’ is in danger of becoming a dirty word.
Migrants and migration is frequently blamed for social problems, accused of ‘stealing’ jobs, or for creating pressure on UK housing, schools, and healthcare.
However, in the years after the end of the Second World War, migrants were invited to the UK from former Commonwealth nations, asked to help rebuild the nation.
Representatives from major organisations such as London Transport, British Rail, and the National Health Service travelled to various countries to recruit people to migrate.
[This well-known image was taken at a London Transport recruitment event in Barbados: London Transport Museum collection: 1998/83757]
Migrants from Pakistan and Ireland worked in the schools, they worked alongside British people in factories and shops and offices, helping to rebuild the economy and adding to the overall prosperity of the boom years of the 1950s and 1960s.
By the 1970s, Irish nurses made up 12% of the workforce in NHS hospitals and more than 18,000 medics came from Pakistan and India in the 1960s.
Over the next few months, we will be recording the stories of some of the migrants from Pakistan and Ireland. We will be sharing them here and in our travelling exhibition, celebrating the contribution of migrants to the recent local history in Cricklewood.