WWI style recruiting poster, with picture of soldier pointing and the caption 'Your heritage project needs you'
News, Volunteer

Remember memorabilia

April was a month of doing on the project.

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?

HeritageNeedsYou.jpg

 

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.

 

Outdoor sign with welcome written in many different languages
Migration History, News

The Art of Migration

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.

Outdoor sign with welcome written in many different languages
The Welcome sign at Our Lady of Grace junior school Dollis Hill

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.

We can’t wait to what wonderful art they create.

Image of a bowl of trifle
Event, News

No trifle matter…

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.

 

Image of a bowl of trifleComing 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.

A small grouop of young men and women pose for a photograph inside a nightclub.
Migration History

I remember it used to be bigger…

Until 1870, when the new railway station opened, Cricklewood was a small village, with a number of large mansion houses on the outskirts.

The Cricklewood area was identified as a London postal district including Cricklewood, Dollis Hill, Childs Hill, parts of Golders Green and Brent Cross, Willesden (north), and Neasden (north). (This only changed after the borough re-organisations in 1965, but the area is still covered by the familiar NW2 postcode.)

In 1879, a second station opened at Willesden Green. As commuting into central London to work became possible, the area began to develop, with thousands of new homes being built between 1880 – 1930. The ‘tree roads’ – Pine, Larch, Ivy, Olive and our own Ashford Road – were part of the Cricklewood Park development constructed between 1893-1900.

Local amenities included the well-known Crown Hotel, rebuilt in 1889, and the shops along Cricklewood Broadway built between 1910 and 1914. There was a new school and a cinema and skating rink for entertainment. Three synagogues were built for the new Jewish communities. Several churches were built for the growing population, including St Agnes Roman Catholic Church, built in 1883 to cater to the growing number of Catholics, many of whom were Irish migrants.

Gladstone Park was completed in 1901 and the swimming pool was opened in the park in 1903. Elders we have interviewed as part of the Generations of Learning project have fond memories of swimming there in the summer.

 

In the years following the start of the First World War in 1914, light industry grew, with factories making use of the transport links along the A5 (aka Cricklewood Broadway). One of the best known factories was Smiths Industries, which opened in 1915. By the 1960s the company employed some 8,000 people. This and other factories attracted many migrants into the area. In the years after the end of the Second World War in 1945, people from the former British Empire colonies were invited to help rebuild the UK. Elders speaking as part of the project recall the Ascot Gas Water Heaters company had a notably large number of workers from Pakistan.

 

As England’s close neighbour, migration from Ireland had been long established, and in the 1950s and ’60s, thousands of young men and women came to build new lives. Many enjoyed the freedom of the big city after quiet lives in the rural countryside, and Cricklewood was famed for its ballrooms; the Galtymore and Burtons.

A small grouop of young men and women pose for a photograph inside a nightclub.
Young Irish enjoy themselves at the Galtymore in the late 1960s.

Migrants from Pakistan also came from the rural areas, many coming to Cricklewood from the Punjab, which had strong links with Great Britain.

A Punjabi man in uniform with an ornate turban and long row of medals on his chest
Punjabi First World War veteran whose children later migrated to Cricklewood.

 

The Punjab was a key recruitment area for the British army in pre-Partition India and many Punjabi men fought for Britain in the First and Second World Wars. Those who came to Britain in the 1950s and ’60s often left families at home, thinking they would only stay a few years before returning themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have memories of Cricklewood in the 1950s or 1960s as part of the Irish or Pakistani community, we would love to hear from you! Please call Sorcha on 020 8208 8590.

 

A table covered in paint and craft materials
News

Memories Made!

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Memory Box events over the half term.

The workshops aimed to encourage different generations to share family stories, to ‘catch’ them in the memory boxes for the future.

This echoes the aim of our project, to capture the memories of Elder migrants, to ensure their stories are preserved for future generations of historians.

We had families from the Philippines, Brazil, England, India, Romania, Cameroon and more. There were all sorts of stories and some wonderful art works created.

We are busy planning more events to celebrate the migrant stories for the Easter holidays so keep an eye out.

 

Volunteer

International Migrants Day

December 18 is the UN International Migrants Day and Ashford Place is launching the ‘Generations of Learning’ project, which will collect stories from people who came to Cricklewood in the 1950s and 60s from Pakistan and Ireland.

On December 18 1990, the UN adopted the convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers. In 2000, it celebrated the first International Migrants Day to recognise the contributions made by migrants. Ashford Place has been awarded Heritage Lottery funding to work with young volunteers to record older generations’ experiences of settling in Cricklewood.

Labour shortages after WWII saw British industries actively recruiting in former colonial nations. Cricklewood was known for its many factories and attracted thousands of immigrants including significant numbers from Ireland and Pakistan, as well as India and the West Indies.

While the area’s Irish links are well known, the story of two communities growing side by side and the experiences they shared is less so. This exciting project will capture memories of people who left their homes to build new lives in post-war London, and the changes and challenges they lived through together.The archive created by the project will save the heritage of Irish and Pakistani migration for future generations.

Danny Maher, CEO of Ashford Place, said “This is a wonderful opportunity to record the experience of people travelling to Cricklewood in the 50s and 60s and offer some insights and thoughts on how immigration as a headline topic is viewed and reported today.”

Stories will be shared an exhibition, which will travel to schools and community venues, celebrating the contributions of migrants’ to the area. The events programme will include public discussions on contemporary issues surrounding immigration and migrant experiences. Organisations supporting the project include the Pakistan Community Centre Willesden, Brent Museum & Archives, and Hampstead School.

Anyone interested in sharing their story or getting involved in the project can contact Sorcha Ni Foghluda on 020 8208 8590 | sorcha.nifoghluda@ashfordplace.org.uk.

Two people holding a poster reading 'Help Make History'
Ashford Place CEO Danny Maher and project volunteer Jeannette Savage.