Generations of Learning will be joining in the fun at the Cricklewood Festival this Saturday, June 23.
We will be running a FREE craft activity decorating canvas totes to celebrate our local community – so come along and ‘bag’ yourself a memory! (All materials provided and the puns are also free.)
As space around the table is limited, sessions will run for 30 minutes at: 12.30, 1.30, 2.30, 3.30 & 4.30 – First come first served.
The heart of our project is getting people to share their memories and celebrate their stories of life in Cricklewood. We have focused on the Irish and Pakistani communities, but we’re looking forward to meeting everyone.
See you there!
If you can’t make it, follow us on instagram for pics from the day @ golheritage
If you came to Cricklewood from Pakistan or Ireland in the 1950s or 1960s and would like to share your story with us, please get in touch:
We have been busy collecting stories for the project and will be announcing the summer schedule for the exhibition and events programme soon.
In the meantime, we are representing at the Olive Road Street Party on Sunday 3 June.
Volunteers from the Generations of Learning project will be hosting the Memory Lounge, inviting locals to share their memories of Cricklewood.
The free event includes craft activities, bouncy castle, and other entertainments. Check out the NW2 website for more details. Come along and enjoy the day, learn more about the project, and share your memories.
If you have any memorabilia relating to Cricklewood in the 1950s or 1960s that you’d be happy to let us take a look at, we’d be delighted to chat to you on the day. This might be a photograph showing the way the area used to look, a newspaper cutting, a programme from the local cinema or from a sporting event.
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.
… and all over London, people were getting ready to celebrate Irish culture and community.
While people are preparing to don fake red beards and giant hats for the parade in Central London, in Cricklewood we will be sticking to tradition.
At Ashford Place on Friday 16 March, there will be a Bacon & Cabbage meal, followed by live music and quite possibly dancing.
Between 2-4pm, there will also a chance to enjoy some cake and share some memories with the Generations of Learning team. We will be looking at photos and other memorabilia from the 1950s and 1960s and chatting over old times.
Please drop in and join us; bring your own memorabilia and memories and we’ll provide the tea and cake!
There will also be a chance to preview our exciting new film.
[We will be holding a second session on Friday 23 March, 2-4pm @ Pakistan Community Centre, Marley Walk, Willesden NW2 4PU]
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.
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.