Ireland in Schools

English & Irish history for primary schools

Birmingham Pilot Scheme Version 4, 6 September 2007

What was it like to be an Irish immigrant in Britain in the 19th century?
Contents About this unit Lessons, sources & worksheets 1. Hopes & fears 2/3. Irish immigrant experience 1 4. Irish immigrant experience 2 5. Hopes & fears revisited Note for teachers 1. Overview of the Irish in Britain 2. Individual lessons
More information on the history of Irish immigration is available at: http://www.movinghere.org.uk/galleries/histories/irish/irish.htm A Key Stage 3 version is available at: http://iisresource.org/Documents/Irish_In_Britain_Booklet_02.pdf

University of Birmingham

BASS

Key Stage 2, Years 4 & 5
University of Northampton

About this study unit
This five-lesson study unit is intended as a depth study within the Key Stage 2 History Curriculum, perhaps in years 4 and 5. The key question asks ‘What was it like to be an Irish immigrant in Britain in the 19th century?’ and examines the complexity of their experiences within a range of contexts. Children analyse a range of sources related to migrant experiences and attitudes towards them in order to explore (1) the hopes and fears of Irish migrants coming to Britain in the mid 19th century; (2) how far they remained in distinct communities; and (3) how far there was a uniform response to them. The final lesson asks how far the immigrants’ hopes and fears were justified. Historical links The unit relates the development of multicultural Britain and provides a framework for comparison with other migrant groups at different times in the past. Discussions could involve comparisons with other groups of people who have come to Britain from earliest times including Romans, Saxons and Vikings, as well as more recent settlers such as black settlers from the 16th century, the Jewish refugees in the Kindertransport and migrants from the Second World War to the present day. Links to other subjects The unit leads students to consider the experiences and attitudes of different people towards ethnic, cultural and religious diversity and the need to show mutual respect and understanding. It thus offers a stimulus for work on Citizenship (Key Stage 2 NC Citizenship Objectives, 2e, 2i, 4b and4f), looking at situations where recent migrants have faced hostility and prejudice. The unit particularly requires speaking and listening skills. National Curriculum Historical objectives - Key Stage 2 This unit fits in with the Victorian Britain area of study. In addition, pupils should be taught: 2. Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past a. characteristic features of the periods and societies studied b. about the social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of societies studies, in Britain and the wider world c. identify and describe reasons for, and results of, historical events, situations, and changes in the periods studied 4. Historical enquiry a. find out about events, people and changes ... from an appropriate range of sources of information, including ICT-based sources b. ask and answer questions, and to select and record information, relevant to the focus of the enquiry 5. Organisation and communication a. recall, select and organise historical information c. communicate their knowledge and understanding of history in a variety of ways. Prior knowledge It would be helpful if the students had 1. some understanding of the use of visual and written sources. 2. knowledge of the experiences other people who have come to Britain e.g. Roman, Saxon and Viking invaders, migrants and refugees from Tudor times to the present day. Some knowledge and understanding of the Irish Famine. (For resources on the Famine, please go to: http://journals.aol.co.uk/ iis04/Famine.

3.

IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 2

Lesson 1

Hopes & fears
Key question What do the sources suggest about the Irish immigrant experience? Starter Use source A, fill in the circles in the graphic organiser? What do see? What is the artist saying about their hopes & fears? What else do you want to ask? Modelling. Teacher leads the class in interpreting Source A, using the grid to ask the starter questions above. Activities 1. Working in groups, pupils look at one of the sources B, C, D and answer the starter questions for their given source, deciding whether the source would put them at ease or would scare them. 2. Pupils jigsaw responses with other groups in the class. 3. As a class, come to a consensus as to where you would put sources B, C, D on a continuum line - from most at ease to most scared. 4. Plenary: Consider the key question and then ask what more do we need to investigate. NC (History) 2a, 2b 4a*, 4b* 5c

Illustration 1. The destination of Irish immigrants depended partly on the Irish port they sailed from.
IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 3

Sources A. The Last Hour in the Old Land Margaret Allen, c. 1877, Gorry Gallery, Dublin B. ‘The Dacent Irish Boy’ The hero of this song has emigrated to Glasgow, where he has found work and is very popular. I’m working here in Glasgow, I’ve got a decent job I’m carrying bricks and mortar and me pay is fifteen bob I rise up in the morning, I get up with the lark, And as I’m walking down the street, you can hear the girls remark: ‘Hello Patsy Fagan! You’re the apple of me eye. Hello Patsy Fagan! You’re the apple of me eye. You’re a dacent boy from Ireland, there’s no one can deny. You’re a rarem taren, divil may caren dacent Irish boy.’

C. Threat to Irish navvies in Scotland, 1835(?)

NOTICE is given that all the IRISH MEN on the line of railway in Fife Shire MUST be off the grownd and out of the Countey on MONDAY THE 11TH of this month or els we must by the strength of our arems and a good pick shaft put them off. You humbel servants SHOTS MEN.
D. A fictional letter from an Irish girl called Bridget, Bolton, 5 January 1850. (Inspired by actual emigrant letters written by the Doorley family who settled in England.) Dear Lilly, I got your letter before I went to mass on Sunday and it made me very happy. Kate , Mary Anne's daughter and her husband Sylvester have moved in. He is a blacksmith and left Ireland 15 years ago. Work is hard, especially as I have to get up and go to work at 5 o'clock. I go to the mill and make blankets. I have been very sick and short of breath. Bridget

IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 4

Graphic organiser

What do you see?

Centre: What do you see? Middle: What is the artist saying about the hopes & fears of the immigrants? Outer: What else do you want to ask? IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 5

Continuum line
If you were the people in picture and could see into the future, which of the sources B, C, & D would make them most at ease and which would scare your most. Come to a consensus as to where you would put sources B, C & D on a continuum line - from most at ease to most scared. Justify the exact point where you place the sources on the continuum.

I’m working here in Glasgow, I’ve got a decent job I’m carrying bricks and mortar and me pay is fifteen bob I rise up in the morning, I get up with the lark, And as I’m walking down the street, you can hear the girls remark: ‘Hello Patsy Fagan! You’re the apple of me eye. Hello Patsy Fagan! You’re the apple of me eye. You’re a dacent boy from Ireland, there’s no one can deny. You’re a rarem taren, divil may caren dacent Irish boy.’
Source B

NOTICE is given that all the IRISH MEN on the line of railway in Fife Shire MUST be off the grownd and out of the Countey on MONDAY THE 11TH of this month or els we must by the strength of our arems and a good pick shaft put them off. You humbel servants SHOTS MEN.
Source C

Dear Lilly, I got your letter before I went to mass on Sunday and it made me very happy. Kate , Mary Anne's daughter and her husband Sylvester have moved in. He is a blacksmith and left Ireland 15 years ago. Work is hard, especially as I have to get up and go to work at 5 o'clock. I go to the mill and make blankets. I have been very sick and short of breath. Bridget Source D

Very scary Fears

Scary

Happy

Very happy Hopes

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Lessons 2 & 3

Irish immigrant experience 1
Key question What far did the Irish stick together? - settlement - worship - work. Starter Teacher led. Look at the cards from source 1A showing the number and percentage of Irishborn people of Britain in 1841 and 1851. What do you notice about the figures? What sorts of things might have happened to explain these figures.
* Devised by Karen Wilson, Drama & School Improvement adviser, School Effectiveness Division, BASS. ‘You would notice the difference in body stance and demeanour between the two still images whilst noticing that the priest is a constant - his bearing won't change. The people derive dignity from the status of the priest.’

Activities Try to answer the key question, question how far did the Irish stick together in Britain, in terms to settlement, religion and work. 1. Divide class into small groups: how far did the Irish live together or did they live in scattered communities? Give our sets of cards with numbers of Irish-born in Britain in 1851 (1B) and A3 outline maps of Great Britain, with main ‘Irish places’ marked as dots. Create flags that show the relative sizes of the Irish-born populations. 2. i. Read source 2A and underline words showing (a) the different people, (b) how the people liked the priest, and (c) the verbs that show actions related to (b). ii. Divide the class into two groups and get each group to produce a still image.* Still image1: The people ‘creeping up from the cellars' which depicts their general state. Still image 2: The people actually standing by the priest. iii. Groups decide what this source tell about the Roman Catholic church kept Irish people together and helped them. iv. How far do sources B, C and D support your conclusions from source A. Please explain that the vast majority of Irish immigrants in Britain the nineteenth century were Roman Catholics. 3. What’s my line?/Charades. i. Divide class into groups. Each group selects an occupation card from the teacher and act out the occupation for the rest of the class to guess (a) what the occupation is and (b) whether the job was done by a man or woman. ii. Class decides how many Irish people did each of these jobs. iii. Look at sources 3A and 3. Find the jobs you acted out. Are there any surprises? How far did the Irish do the ‘posh’ jobs?

NC (History) 2a*, 2b, 2c 4a, 4b* 5a, 5c*

1A. The Irish-born population of England & Wales and Scotland, 1841-51 cards for starter activity

1841 England & Wales 291,000

(No. of Irish-born residents- nearest 1,000)

1851 England & Wales 520,000

(No. of Irish-born residents- nearest 1,000)

1841 Scotland 126,000

(No. of Irish-born residents- nearest 1,000)

1851 Scotland 207,000

(No. of Irish-born residents- nearest 1,000)

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1B. ‘Top twenty’ Irish towns in Britain, 1851

cards for activity 2

Town: London Number Irish-born: 108,548

Town: Stockport Number Irish-born: 5,701

Town: Liverpool Number Irish-born: 83,813

Town: Preston Number Irish-born: 5,122

Town: Glasgow Number Irish-born: 59,801

Town: Bristol Number Irish-born: 4,761

Town: Manchester Number Irish-born: 52,504

Town: Sheffield Number Irish-born: 4,477

Town: Dundee Number Irish-born: 14,889

Town: Bolton Number Irish-born: 4,453

Town: Edinburgh Number Irish-born: 12,514

Town: Paisley Number Irish-born: 4,036

Town: Birmingham Number Irish-born: 9,341

Town: Sunderland Number Irish-born: 3,601

Town: Bradford Number Irish-born: 9,279

Town: Wolverhampton Number Irish-born: 3,491

Town: Leeds Number Irish-born: 8,466

Town: Merthyr Tydfil Number Irish-born: 3,051

Town: Newcastle Number Irish-born: 7,124

Town: Hull Number Irish-born: 2,983

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Outline map of Britain showing top 20 Irish towns, 1851 Enlarge to A3 format

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1C. ‘Top twenty’ Irish towns in Britain, 1851

for reference

Town London Liverpool Glasgow Manchester Dundee Edinburgh Birmingham Bradford Leeds Newcastle Stockport Preston Bristol Sheffield Bolton Paisley Sunderland Wolverhampton Merthyr Tydfil Hull

Number Irish-born 108,548 83,813 59,801 52,504 14,889 12,514 9,341 9,279 8,466 7,124 5,701 5,122 4,761 4,477 4,453 4,036 3,601 3,491 3,051 2,983

As % total 4.6 22.3 18.2 13.1 18.9 6.5 4.0 8.9 4.9 8.1 10.6 7.4 3.5 3.3 7.3 12.7 5.5 7 11.3 3.5

From C. Pooley, ‘Segregation or Integration? The Residential Experience of the Irish in Mid-Victorian Britain’ in R. Swift and S. Gilley (eds.), The Irish in Britain, 1815-1939, 66-7

Illustrations 2 & 3. Irish in British cities 2. (Left): Sandgate Market (also known as Paddy’s Market), Newcastle Ralph Heldley, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle 3. (Right): Houses of Irish navvies working on the Manchester Ship canal
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2A. A London priest

Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (1861)

Everywhere the people ran out to meet him. He had just returned to them, I found, and the news spread round, and women crowded to their doorsteps, and came creeping up from the cellars through the trap-doors, merely to curtsey to him. One old crone, as he passed, cried ‘You’re a good father, Heaven comfort you’, and the boys playing about stood still to watch him. A lad, in a man’s tail coat and a shirt-collar that nearly covered in his head - like the paper round a bouquet was fortunate enough to be noticed, and his eyes sparkled, as he touched his hair at each work he spoke in answer....He called them all by their names, and asked after their families, and once or twice the ‘father’ was taken aside and held by the button while some point that required his advice was whispered in his ear. A Roman Catholic priest, 1902
2B. Church attendance in Liverpool (on a Sunday in 1853)

Denomination Church of England Dissenters (Methodists, Baptists, etc.) Roman Catholic

No. of seats in churches 63,760 54,594 15,300

Average attendance 35,526 28,843 43,380

2C. Preparation for a Roman Catholic procession in Rook Street, Poplar c. 1912

Illustration 4. Irish immigrants attachment to their Church reflected practices back home in Ireland Station Mass in a Connemara Cottage, 1888.
Aloysius O’Kelly, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art

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2D. Whom did the Irish marry? Irish marriages in Stafford Catholic churches: ethnic character of partners, 1838-1914 Hint: are there any changes over time?

Per cent

Eng/Irish: ethnically English male partner, Irish female partner Irish/Eng: ethnically Irish male partner, English female partner All-Irish:both partners ethnically Irish

Years: 1835-1914

Illustrations 5 & 6. Working conditions in England 5.(Left): Many Irish emigrants, including children, found jobs in textile factories in Lancashire. 6. (Right): Michael Davitt MP, on the right, was born in Ireland and began working in a Lancashire cotton mill when he was 10. Two years later, in 1858, he had an accident with a spinning mill and his right arm had to be amputated.
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Some occupations

cards for activity 3

Agricultural labourer

Servant

7. Field Working in Spring: At the Potato Pits William Darling Kay, National Gallery of Scotland

Nailmaker

Bookbinder

8. Girl making nails, 1880

Doctor

Weaver

Navvy

Lodging house keeper

9. Irish Navvies working on the Manchester Ship Canal

IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 13

3A. The occupational profile of the Irish-born in Leigh, 1851 Census Enumerators’ Sheets, Leigh, Lancashire, 31 March 1851
a. Irish-born males Description Cotton Industry Carder Grinder Handloom weaver Piecer Labourer Spinner Stripper Tenter/Carder Weaver Worker Silk Industry Weaver Worker 6 6 2 4 2 1 4 3 1 2 1 Other Jobs Baker Brickmaker Cordwainer Dealer (fruit) Drawer (colliery) Factory worker Farmer Doctor 1 1 1 2 1 8 1 1 No data on jobs At home Scholars Overall Total b. Irish-born females Description Domestic & Household Services Cook Charwoman Domestic duties Housemaid Laundress Servant Washerwoman Other Services Assistant in Beerhouse Bookbinder Boot & Shoe Binder Dealer Dressmaker Hawker Lodging house kps 1 1 3 3 2 5 1 2 11 1 2 24 17 Cotton Mills Bobbin winder Carder Doubler Hand twister Piecer Worker Silk Industry Handloom weaver Weaver Powerloom weaver Winder Worker 1 10 2 3 2 1 2 1 1 2 10 No Data on Jobs Wife Daughters Lodgers Rest Scholars At home Overall Total 25 12 41 20 7 4 290 Jobs Total 181 Number Description Nurse Shoemaker Seamstress Number 6 1 1 Description Other Jobs Labourer (agric.) Chemical works labourer Factory worker General labourer Nailmaker 2 15 4 1 32 Number 48 3 4 280 Number Description Labourers Agricultural Chemical works General Vitriol works 90 5 35 5 Number Description Grinder (factory) Joiner Lodging house kpr Miner Miller Painter Rag collector Shoemaker Tailor Umbrella maker Chelsea Pens. Total Jobs Number 1 1 7 4 1 2 1 12 10 1 1 224

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Census (1851) & C. Chinn, ‘The Irish in Early Victorian England’, The Irish in Victorian Britain. The Local Dimension edited by R. Swift & S. Gilley, Dublin, 1999, pp 68-9

3B.

Irish occupations in Birmingham, 1851

Across Birmingham, 5231 Irish were recorded with 765 occupations. They ranged in economic status from John Ryland, an Armagh accountant who lived in prosperous Ashted Row with his family and a servant, to James Foy of 6, Park Street. He, his wife and their five children aged three and upwards were all beggars. Overall there were few Irish who could be regarded as middle class. Depending upon the interpretation of jobs and without any knowledge of income, at the most they formed 2% of the total. This small group included professionals, clerks, teachers and actors.

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Lesson 4

Irish immigrant experience 2
Key question How far was there a uniform English, Welsh and Scottish response to Irish immigrants? Starter Look at Source C from Lesson 1 and produce a quick news report. Activities 1. In pairs, look at all the written sources on the next page and divide them into positive and negative, giving a score for each - 1 for most negative, 10 for most positive. Justify your decision. 2. If you were producing a radio broadcast to answer the key question, which two people from the sources would you interview. Justify your choice. 3. Produce a storyboard to your broadcast, highlighting four points you would like to make about attitudes of people in different parts of Britain towards the Irish. 4. Plenary: Put all the story boards on a wall and in groups of three pairs justify their sources and story boards to each other. NC (History)
2a* 4a, 4b*

5a, 5c*

Sources I. SETTLEMENT A. The Times, 2 April 1847 The newspaper was no great friend of Ireland.
C. An Irish street in London, mid 19th century

Ireland is pouring into the cities, and even the villages of this island, a disgusting mass of famine, nakedness and dirt and fever. Liverpool, whose closeness to Ireland has already made it the most unhealthy town in this island, seems destined to become one mass of disease.
B. Registrar General 1847, reported in Liverpool Mail, 6 November 1847

. . . Liverpool, created in haste by commerce [businessmen wanting to make lots of money] ... without any regard for flesh and blood, and flourishing while the working population was rotting in cellars, has been ... one of the unhealthiest towns in the Kingdom, Liverpool has for a year, been the hospital and cemetery of Ireland.
II. RELIGION D. Concert on St Patrick’s Day, 1885
The Barrow Herald, 21 March 1885

On Tuesday evening last, being St Patrick’s Day, a grand Irish ballad concert took place at the Town Hall; most of the performers being connected with the Catholic Church in this town. The Rev. Father Caffrey presided, and amongst those present were the Revs. Father Gordon, Father Collinson, and Father Monaghan; Mr Palmer, and others. There was also a large attendance.
E. Catholic piety in London
M.C. Bishop, ‘The Social Methods of Roman Catholicism in England’, Contemporary Review, 39, 1887, p. 612

A priest ... got together some fifty labourers of Whitechapel [London] and preached to them under a railway arch. The fifty increased to five hundred before long, and the congregation migrated from the railway arch to a garret, and then to a temporary iron church. Meantime by much begging, by the help of a few benefactors of the upper world [upper-class people who helped the poor], but chiefly by the pence and farthings of the Romish [Roman Catholic] roughs thereabouts, schools were built.
IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 16

III. WORK F. Irish sugar-workers in Greenock, 1836
Report on the State of the Irish Poor in Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers (1836) xxiv—xxvii

Mr Thomas Fairrie, sugar manufacturer, of Greenock [stated] ‘If it was not for the Irish, we should be obliged to import Germans, as is done in London. The Scotch will not work in sugar-houses; the heat drives them away in the first fortnight. If it was not for the Irish, we should be forced to give up trade; and the same applies to every sugar-house in town. This is a well-known fact. Germans would be our only resource, and we could not readily get them. Highlanders would not do the work’.
G. Liverpool Mail, 6 November 1847

The people that come here are not labourers ... they are beggars and paupers. They never were labourers. They never did an honest day’s work in their lives. They live by begging ... and when they arrive here, begging is their profession ...
H. T.P. O’Connor, MP
T.P. O’Connor was born in Athlone in Ireland in 1848 and became a famous journalist in London. He was also the Irish nationalist MP for the mainly Irish Scotland Road Division of Liverpool from 1885 until his death in 1929.

I. Cartoon, 'The Mixing Room', 1854

It shows Irish women millworkers in Preston asleep on the job as their horrified employer looks on. It reflects a view that cheap Irish labour forced down wages and undermined the trade union movement.

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Lesson 5

Hopes & fears revisited
Key question What were the pros and cons of being an Irish immigrant in Britain in the 19th century? Starter Look again at Bridget’s letter, Source D in Lesson 1, and highlight in two different colours the advantages and disadvantages of being an Irish person living in Britain. Activities 1. Assume she stayed in the country, write a letter she might have written later describing pros and cons of being an Irish person living in Britain in the nineteenth century. You have looked at several sources in the previous lessons.* Pick two or three and use these as the basis for your letter. 2. Plenary: Class secret ballot (Yes, No, Don’t know) on the question: Would you have liked to have been an Irish person living in Britain in the nineteenth century? 3.Optional poll: How far does anything you have learned about Irish immigrants apply to immigrants in Britain today? NC (History)
2a, 2b 5a*, 5c*

* Lesson 1: A painting ‘The Last Hour in the Old Land’; the ballad, ‘The Dacent Irish Boy'; the threat to Irish navvies in Scotland; and a fictional letter from an Irish girl called Bridget. Lessons 2/3: Irish-born population of England & Wales and Scotland, 1841-51; ‘Top twenty' Irish towns in Britain; a London priest; Church attendance in Liverpool ; Whom did the Irish marry?; Preparation for a Roman Catholic procession; and the occupations of the Irish-born in Leigh and Birmingham. Lesson 4: The Times and the Registrar General on the Liverpool Irish; the Barrow concert on St Patrick’s Day; Catholic piety in London; the Irish sugar-workers in Greenock; the comments of the Liverpool Mail on the Irish in1847; T.P. O’Connor; and ‘The Mixing Room’.

Lesson 1, Source D A fictional letter from an Irish girl called Bridget, 5 January 1850.

Bridget Liptrot (née Doorley) with her nephew Silvester Moran Bridget’s family letters inspired the fictional letter on the left.

Dear Lilly,

Bolton, England, 5 January 1850

I got your letter before I went to mass on Sunday and it made me very happy. Kate , Mary Anne's daughter and her husband Sylvester have moved in. He is a blacksmith and left Ireland 15 years ago. Work is hard, especially as I have to get up and go to work at 5 o'clock. I go to the mill and make blankets. I have been very sick and short of breath. Bridget

IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 18

Lesson plans
Lesson 1 Hopes & fears Key question What do the sources suggest about the Irish immigrant experience? Starter Use source A, fill in the circles in the graphic organiser? What do see? What is the artist saying about their hopes & fears? What else do you want to ask? Modelling. Teacher leads the class in interpreting Source A, using the grid to ask the starter questions above. Teacher led. Look at the cards from source 1A showing the number and percentage of Irish-born people of Britain in 1841 and 1851. What do you notice about the figures? What sorts of things might have happened to explain these figures.
* Devised by Karen Wilson, Drama & School Improvement adviser, School Effectiveness Division, BASS. ‘You would notice the difference in body stance and demeanour between the two still images whilst noticing that the priest is a constant - his bearing won't change. The people derive dignity from the status of the priest.’

Activities 1. Working in groups, pupils look at one of the sources B, C, D and answer the starter questions for their given source, deciding whether the source would put them at ease or would scare them. 2. Pupils jigsaw responses with other groups in the class. 3. As a class, come to a consensus as to where you would put sources B, C, D on a continuum line - from most at ease to most scared. 4. Plenary: Consider the key question and then ask what more do we need to investigate.

NC (History) 2a 4a, 4b

2/3 Irish immigrant experience 1

What far did the Irish stick together? - settlement - worship - work.

Try to answer the key question, question how far did the Irish stick together in Britain, in terms to settlement, religion and work. 1. Divide class into small groups: how far did the Irish live together or did they live in scattered communities? Give our sets of cards with numbers of Irish-born in Britain in 1851 (1B) and A3 outline maps of Great Britain, with main ‘Irish places’ marked as dots. Create flags that show the relative sizes of the Irish-born populations. 2. i. Read source 2A and underline words showing (a) the different people, (b) how the people liked the priest, and (c) the verbs that show actions related to (b). ii. Divide the class into two groups and get each group to produce a still image.* Still image1: The people ‘creeping up from the cellars' which depicts their general state. Still image 2: The people actually standing by the priest. iii. Groups decide what this source tell about the Roman Catholic church kept Irish people together and helped them. iv. How far do sources B, C and D support your conclusions from source A. Please explain that the vast majority of Irish immigrants in Britain the nineteenth century were Roman Catholics. 3. What’s my line?/Charades. i. Divide class into groups. Each group selects an occupation card from the teacher and act out the occupation for the rest of the class to guess (a) what the occupation is and (b) whether the job was done by a man or woman. ii. Class decides how many Irish people did each of these jobs. iii. Look at sources 3A and 3. Find the jobs you acted out. Are there any surprises? How far did the Irish do the ‘posh’ jobs?

2a*, 2b, 2c 4a, 4b*

5a, 5c*

IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 19

Lesson 4 Irish immigrant experience 2

Key question How far was there a uniform English, Welsh and Scottish response to Irish immigrants settlement, religion, work? What were the pros and cons of being an Irish immigrant in Britain in the 19th century?

Starter Look at Source D from Lesson 1 and produce a quick news report.

Activities 1. In pairs, look at all the sources and divide them into positive and negative, giving a score for each - 1 for most negative, 10 for most positive. Justify your decision. 2. If you were producing a radio broadcast to answer the key question, which two people from the sources would you interview. Justify your choice. 3. Produce a storyboard to your broadcast, highlighting four points you would like to make about attitudes of people in different parts of Britain towards the Irish. 4. Plenary: Put all the story boards on a wall and in groups of three pairs justify their sources and story boards to each other. 1. Assume she stayed in the country, write a letter she might have written later describing pros and cons of being an Irish person living in Britain in the nineteenth century. You have looked at the following sources in the previous lessons: LIST SOURCES Pick two or three and use these as the basis for your letter. 2. Plenary: Class secret ballot (Yes, No, Don’t know) on the question: Would you have liked to have been an Irish person living in Britain in the nineteenth century? 3.Optional poll: How far does anything you have learned about Irish immigrants apply to immigrants in Britain today?

NC (History)
2a* 4a, 4b*

5a, 5c*

5 Hopes & fears revisited

Look again at Bridget’s letter, Source D in Lesson 1, and highlight in two different colours the advantages and disadvantages of being an Irish person living in Britain.

2a, 2b 5a*, 5c*

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Note for teachers

1. Overview of the Irish in Britain
Until the advent of ‘New Commonwealth’ migration after World War II, the Irish were by far the largest ethnic group in Britain. However, this prominence was not unique to the modern period. Irish sojourners were finding their way to Britain as early as the Middle Ages and had begun to form permanent settlements in London by the Elizabethan period. The eighteenth century saw further developments of this type, with Irish migration mirroring the wider growth of urban and industrial centres. The emergence of the northern towns, and the establishment of the great commercial and industrial cities, prompted the appearance of much larger and more closely observed Irish settlements. The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed a substantial increase in the pace and scale of Irish migration to Britain. The 1841 Census enumerated the Irish-born population of England, Wales and Scotland at 419,000 . By 1851, in consequence of the massive exodus during the Great Famine, this figure had risen to 727,000. In 1861, the Irish-born population peaked at 806,000, when it comprised 3.5% of the total population. Thereafter, as migration from Ireland to Britain declined, the number of Irish-born migrants in Britain also progressively fell, declining to 550,000 (or 1.3% of the population) in 1911. lodges The Irish presence was generally unpopular. Even before the Famine, British social investigators and commentators variously perceived Irish migration as little short of a social disaster which, it was argued, exacerbated urban squalor, constituted a health hazard, increased the burden on the Poor Rates and was a threat to law and order in British cities In the 1840s, the impact of the Famine and a pattern of long-lived cultural antagonisms conspired to make the Irish in Britain the ‘largest unassimilable section of society’; ‘a people set apart and everywhere rejected and despised.’ Irish immigration ‘involved the positive movement of people in search of better economic opportunities in Britain’. Accordingly, the Irish presence was concentrated overwhelmingly in the towns and cities of ‘the workshop of the world’. As late as World War I, a continuing migration meant that even less fashionable Irish centres, such as Whitehaven in Cumberland and Hebburn on Tyneside, ‘bore the cultural and political hallmarks of their long-established Irish communities, whether in the form of thriving Catholic churches or Orange’. These migrants, many of whom subsequently re-emigrated, were by no means an homogeneous group. Their ranks contained both rich and poor, middle class and working class, skilled and unskilled, Catholics and Protestants (as well as unbelievers), Nationalists and Loyalists, and men and women from a variety of distinctive provincial rural and urban cultures in Ireland. The majority were young, single people, disproportionately male. They were also notoriously transient, and the urban districts they inhabited experienced continual in- and out-migration, with only a relatively small number of migrants establishing permanent settlements. However, the vast majority of these Irish people were poor and they were Roman Catholics, and it is their story - a story, in many cases, ‘of triumph over adversity - that looms large in the history of the Irish in Britain.

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Note for teachers

2. Individual lessons
Lessons 2 & 3: Irish immigrant experience 1 Settlement, Little Irelands’/ghettoes? Much contemporary qualitative evidence, which referred specifically to ‘the lowest Irish’ - the very poorest Irish rather than to all Irish migrants, suggested that during the 1830s and 1840s in particular the newcomers were located in socially immobile and unintegrated ghettos or ‘Little Irelands’, isolated in particular streets and courts from the surrounding populations. The image of these districts, including St Giles in London, or Manchester’s ‘Little Ireland’, observed by Frederick Engels in 1844, was popularly perceived to be a reality of Irish urban settlement. Many towns did, indeed, possess so-called ‘Irish quarters’ populated by extended families, including Goit Side in Bradford, Rock Row in Stockport, Sandygate in Newcastle, Bedern in York, and Caribee Island in Wolverhampton. The tendency of the Irish poor to cluster in such districts was influenced by the availability of cheap accommodation, including lodging-houses, the existence of familial and kinship networks, proximity to available employment, and the development of Irish social, cultural and religious organizations. Yet Irish did not congregate in ‘ghettos’ to the exclusion of other ethnic groups. For example, St Giles was not inhabited exclusively by the Irish poor and was, as a criminal rookery, atypical of Irish districts in London. Similarly, while there were areas of concentrated Irish settlement in Liverpool, Blackburn and Bolton, they were not wholly isolated from the host community. Even where Irish immigrants dominated particular streets, courts and squares they were seldom shut off from the native population. Indeed, in Liverpool almost half the Irish lived in enumeration districts with low or medium concentrations of Irish people, and this also appears to have been the case in London and York, where the Irish lived cheek by jowl beside natives of the same social class. This was also true of Irish settlement in smaller English towns such as Stafford and Chester, where the Irish-born population was geographically dispersed and where the formation of an identifiable Irish community was inhibited by a high level of out-migration. In short, the poor Irish lived among the English poor, and the upwardly mobile among the English upper-working or middle class. In sum, the pattern of Irish settlement was determined largely by economic considerations, and if there was an ‘Irish community’ it did not rest on a pattern of rigid residential segregation. Religion The majority of Irish people who settled in Victorian Britain were Roman Catholics, and the survival of an Irish identity was crucially bound up with the survival of Catholicism, as the Roman Catholic Church in England, Scotland and Wales was the only native institution with a fundamental claim on Irish loyalties. This relationship was reflected in the unique role and status of the Roman Catholic priest within Irish communities in British towns and cities, as Henry Mayhew observed in mid-Victorian London. The rise of an expatriate Irish Catholicism was part of the transformation of nineteenth-century Irish religion from a faith based chiefly on the home and on family prayers, and Gaelic devotion and pilgrimage or ‘patterns’ in a sacred rural landscape, to a much more chapel-orientated religion of weekly attendance at Mass. This transformation, which can be dated from Archbishop Paul Cullen’s remaking of the Irish church in the Roman mould in the 1850s, has been described as a ‘Devotional Revolution’, and by the end of the century the Irish had become the most practising Catholics in the world. Work Overall, among the country immigrants to British towns and cities, the Irish were generally the least prepared to succeed in their new environment. The great majority of Irish-born, largely illiterate and unskilled, entered the lowliest and least healthy of urban occupations, unless they enlisted in the army, which was 30 per cent Irish in the mid-Victorian period. Most of those with limited or no skills were concentrated in unskilled occupations in mines, ironworks, textile mills and manufactories; in construction industries, notably as railway ‘navvies’, and in casual dock labour and street-selling. These were occupations for which a highly sophisticated city like London, with a highly specialised labour force, held very few rewards and the Irish could only enter the metropolitan economy with difficulty. Although a minority of
IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 22

skilled workers entered sweated industries like cobbling and tailoring , street-selling was, as Henry Mayhew observed, the most common occupation among the Irish in London’s East End. By contrast, in Liverpool, which was a trading and commercial rather than an industrial centre, employment opportunities, housing and sanitation were overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of Irish immigration during the 1840s, and the demand for labour lay largely in unskilled occupations for which Catholics and Protestants were in active competition. Similarly, although the Glasgow Irish were able to find employment in mills and mines, they were excluded from engineering by virtue of their lack of skill, from shipbuilding by the Orange Order and from skilled trades by the craft unions. In Edinburgh, a city of legal, literary and ecclesiastical institutions, the Irish were confined to such menial occupations as general labouring in building, domestic service, portering, street-cleaning and street-lighting Yet it is both easy and dangerous to generalize. In the first place, not all Irish immigrants, whether Catholic or Protestant, were poor. Even by mid-century there was a small middle-class world of professional men - doctors, lawyers, soldiers, shopkeepers, merchants and journalists! Irish women also formed an important sector of the migrant labour force in textile mills, laundry work, street-selling and, most notably, domestic service, and in the longer term made notable contributions to a range of low-paid professional occupations, including social work and nursing. Moreover, the economic position of the Irish was far less static than many contemporaries believed and there was a degree of differentiation in Irish occupational patterns. The survey of the Irish in Britain conducted by Hugh Heinrick in 1872 for The Nation argued that in relative terms the economic position of the Irish depended less on the structure of the Irish community in a given locality than on the economic infrastructure of the area where they worked. In developing this argument, the survey pointed to the emergence of a substantial Irish middle-class in London, to the presence of skilled workers in the Midlands and to the variable experience of the Irish in South Lancashire, where an Irish middle-class had emerged in Manchester whilst in neighbouring Wigan and St. Helens the Irish were almost wholly labourers of one description or another. Lesson 4: Irish immigrant experience 2 Victorian stereotypes The Victorians were less ready to accept such diversity among the Irish in Britain. The Victorians themselves are responsible for the persistence of a negative Irish migrant stereotype, for most contemporary writings exaggerated Irish poverty, immorality, drunkenness and Catholicism. Even the briefest reading of Carlyle’s or Kay’s outpourings reveals how the image of the Irish has crowded out any notion of their lived reality. The Irish were portrayed as the greatest nuisance of the new industrial and urban world; they were the scapegoats for a host of problems that their arrival did not manufacture and scarcely worsened. The Irish scapegoat was meant to explain the negative features of the Victorian city and perhaps to assuage those who feared them. Yet the image of the Irish as a negative and alien presence had more to do with the urban world in which they lived than with the character of the Irish themselves. For Victorians, the words ‘Irish’ and ‘slum’ were virtually interchangeable, each epitomising middle-class attitudes towards working-class lifestyles. Religion Irish Catholic identity in Victorian Britain was reinforced by manifestations of anti-Catholicism, both covert and overt. The English, Scots and Welsh were overwhelmingly Protestant by tradition and there had been a distrust of Roman Catholicism in Britain since the Reformation. Anti-Catholic feeling in England was rooted in an historic hatred of France and Spain, Catholic powers and England’s traditional enemies; in scriptural and theological arguments against Roman Catholicism; in the Settlement of 1688, which ensured the Protestant Succession of William and Mary; in the fact that the Church of England imparted a religious dimension into political life and had therefore to be protected; and in the belief that Roman Catholicism, with its legacy of the Inquisition, was a persecuting sect. Thus, by the end of the eighteenth century, English Protestants held that the Roman Catholic Church was both theologically unsound and politically subversive; that it was intolerant and persecuting; that it was a hindrance to the moral, intellectual and economic development of its flock; and that it should be excluded from political power. In this context, Irish Catholics were particularly vulnerable because their allegiance was to a foreigner rather than to the Crown (the head of the Protestant Church and State), hence they were also regarded as potentially, if not actually,
IiS, Irish immigration - Key Stage 2, 23

politically subversive, a perception which Irish nationalist activity consequent upon the Act of Union of 1800 appeared to confirm. The strength of popular Protestantism was greatly reinforced by the Evangelical Revival. Thus religious issues provided a vital ingredient in determining Anglo-Irish relations on a local level during the Victorian period, although Victorian ‘No Popery’ was much more than simply anti-Irishness. Nevertheless, the terms ‘Irish’ and ‘Catholic’ were virtually synonymous in British eyes and the Irish Anti-Catholic feeling was exacerbated by the presence of Irish Protestants, largely from Ulster, in those British towns and cities also populated by Irish Catholic migrants, particularly on Clydeside and Merseyside. Indeed, such was the depth of anti-Catholic feeling that it contributed to the most serious clashes between the English and the Irish in the nineteenth century - at Stockport n 1852, Oldham in 1861, London in 1862 and during the more widespread Murphy riots in 1867-71. Work Such clashes were not, however, solely due to religious differences. There were deeper tensions, including competition for jobs. The Irish were seen as willing to work for lower wages and thus deprive the English, Scots and Welsh of jobs. At the same tine, Irish immigrants were willing to do jobs that nobody else would do. The Irish were also said to have helped to undermine working-class trades union activity through their use by employers as strike -breakers. Yet, while it is true that Irish immigrants were sometimes used to break strikes, individual Irishmen - first and second generation - did become prominent trade unionists. For instance, John Doherty, founder of the National Association for the Protection of Labour, editor of the visionary Voice of the People, and one of the greatest trade union pioneers, was born and bred in Donegal. Lesson 5: Hopes & fears revisited An additional activity, which underlines the often ambivalent attitude of Irish immigrants to their experience in Britain, would be singing and analysing the famous Irish ballad ‘The Mountains of Mourne’. THE MOUNTAINS OF MOURNE

This song is a love letter from an Irish immigrant in London to Mary, his wife or sweetheart, whom he has left behind in County Down. He tells her what he has done, the people he has seen and some of the differences between life in London and Ireland.

Oh, Mary this London’s a wonderful sight, With the people here working by day and by night. They don’t sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat, But there’s gangs of them digging for gold in the street; At least, when I asked them that’s what I was told, So I just took a hand at this digging for gold, But for all that I found there I might as well be, Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I believe that when writing a wish you expressed As to how the fine ladies of London were dressed. Well if you believe me, when asked to a ball, They don’t wear a top to their dresses at all. Oh, I’ve seen them myself, and you could not in truth Say if they were bound for a ball or a bath. Don’t be starting those fashions now, Mary Macree, Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

Ireland in Schools, 19 Woodlands Road, Liverpool L17 0AJ Tel: 0151 727 6817 email: iisresources@yahoo.co.uk web site: http://iisresource.org

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