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Lovers and strangers

G oing home can be disconcerting. Over the last few years, when-ever I have returned from New York, where I live, to Gloucester, where I grew up, what has struck me most — more than the rundown state of the local library, the decamping of the local newspaper to posher Cheltenham, the ailing, asthmatic feel of the town centre — are its ethnic transformations. Neighbourhoods that in the s and 80s seemed like havens of timeless Englishness augmented by a few Asian convenience stores and smoky cafes vibrating to militant reggae are now full of Romanian grocers and Polish bakers. The shaven-headed guy trying to cadge a fag from me does so with a Spanish accent. A Commonwealth city has morphed into a European city. In truth, my memory is playing tricks on me. For Gloucester, like so many cities across the country, has long been a hub for Europeans. My father used to work alongside Poles and Hungarians at an aeronautics factory and still laughs about the speed at which they ripped open their pay packets to buy Friday-night beer at the local pub. The briefest memory-delve brings up stories of Italians and Maltese — and Scottish, many of whom had moved to this sleepy West Country city after the second world war. They were hidden in plain sight, their whiteness obscuring the centrifugality of their lives.
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West Indians arrive in Britain on board the Windrush – archive, 23 June 1948

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From all over the world and with many motives, thousands of individuals took the plunge. Most assumed they would spend just three or four years here, sending most of their pay back home, but instead large numbers stayed - and transformed the country. Drawing on an amazing array of unusual and surprising sources, Clair Wills' wonderful new book brings to life the incredible diversity and strangeness of the migrant experience. She introduces us to lovers, scroungers, dancers, homeowners, teachers, drinkers, carers and many more to show the opportunities and excitement as much as the humiliation and poverty that could be part of the new arrivals' experience. Irish, Bengalis, West Indians, Poles, Maltese, Punjabis and Cypriots battled to fit into an often shocked Britain and, to their own surprise, found themselves making permanent homes. As Britain picked itself up again in the s migrants set about changing life in their own image, through music, clothing, food, religion, but also fighting racism and casual and not so casual violence. Lovers and Strangers is an extremely important book, one that is full of enjoyable surprises, giving a voice to a generation who had to deal with the reality of life surrounded by 'white strangers' in their new country. Account Options Anmelden. Meine Mediathek Hilfe Erweiterte Buchsuche. Clair Wills.

From all over the world and with many motives, thousands of individuals took the plunge. Most assumed they would spend just three or four years here, sending most of their pay back home, but instead large numbers stayed - and transformed the country. Drawing on an amazing array of unusual and surprising sources, Clair Wills' wonderful new book brings to life the incredible diversity and strangeness of the migrant experience. She introduces us to lovers, scroungers, dancers, homeowners, teachers, drinkers, carers and many more to show the opportunities and excitement as much as the humiliation and poverty that could be part of the new arrivals' experience.

Irish, Bengalis, West Indians, Poles, Maltese, Punjabis and Cypriots battled to fit into an often shocked Britain and, to their own surprise, found themselves making permanent homes.

As Britain picked itself up again in the s migrants set about changing life in their own image, through music, clothing, food, religion, but also fighting racism and casual and not so casual violence. Lovers and Strangers is an extremely important book, one that is full of enjoyable surprises, giving a voice to a generation who had to deal with the reality of life surrounded by 'white strangers' in their new country.

Account Options Anmelden. Meine Mediathek Hilfe Erweiterte Buchsuche. Clair Wills. Inhalt List of Illustrations. PART 1. Naipaul village violence wanted West Indian West Indies woman women workers writers young.

Bibliografische Informationen. List of Illustrations. PART 2. East Enders.



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