How has immigration contributed to British society? 1939 - 1975 (part two)

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  • Created on: 08-06-11 10:42

The treatment of immigrants

In part one, we found out about the sorts of immigrants who came to Britain and why they came. In part two, we're going to find out about the lives of these immigrants in Britain.

Experiences of immigrants

There were many happy experiences in Britain, however there were bad ones as well. Some people were shocked to discover that British people were unwelcoming and hostile, the weather was cold, damp and depressing and the food was dull and unapetising! 

  • Housing and accomodation - Many people stayed with family or people they new when they came to Britain, however for people with no connections it was rather difficult. People were reluctant to rent their rooms to immigrants and some people would put out signs saying "no blacks, no dogs". Local authorities, building societies and banks were unhelpful. Many immigrants stayed in poor accomodation and were paying high rents.
  • Discrimination - Many immigrants weren't allowed into restaurants, bars or dance halls as the oweners of these places were worried that they would cause trouble.
  • The Workplace - There was also discrimination in the workplace. The trade unions and workers saw immigrants as competitors for jobs. There were many protests by white workers to sack or reduce the number of immigrant workers. The Trade Union congress tried to pass a law calling for an end to all immigrant workers entering the country, and in one factory the white workers demanded seperate toilet facilities to the Sikh workers. Many immigrants coming to Britain were very skilled, however they mainly got the worse jobs on offer.


With the increasing number of immigrants, communities of west indians and people from the indian subcontinent began to form, such as St Pauls in Bristol and Southhall in London. The apparently large number of immigrants also created many tensions. The facist leader Oswold Mosely was worried about immigration and started a campaign to "Keep Britain White" and published anti immigrant leaflets. The Labour MP for North Kensington was also concerned about immigrants and said they had a taste for drugs and knife crime. In 1958, gangs of white youths attacked populations of immigrants in Nottingham and Notting Hill. The black population were angry that they had received no protection from the police. Two Nottingham MPs called for laws to stop immigrants coming to Britain and allowing deportation. 25% of the British public believed that the blacks were to blame for the violence, and 80% favoured controls of some sort. 

The Government's response to immigration

To try and reduce the number of people emigrating to Britain, the government produced leaflets in Commonwealth countries which made Britain sound unappealing! The violence in 1958 brought the issue of immigration to the forefront of politics. In the 1964 general election, the Conservative candidate Peter Griffiths said, "If you want a…





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