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Who came to Britain and why?

The first wave: Due to WW2.

The second wave: After war Britain looking to rebuild war damages and to get
the economy going again. Need workers to run NHS and London transport?
Britain set up recruitment camps in West Indies, Ireland and refugee camps.
The third wave: Late 60s to Early 70s. Immigration of Asian people, mainly from
India and Pakistan.

Immigrants in Britain in 1945:

Jews, Poles and Europeans fled the the chaos and persecution in Europe.
Former prisoners of war.

Wave 2 Post war

Immigration in to Britain continued.
- Half a million Irish people
- 250,000 Caribbean people from 1955-62
- Through the 50s along the Caribbean smaller number of Asian people.

After WW2 Britain were in need of Labour and to rebuild Britain.

New immigrants came from all over the place:
- German prisoners stayed.
- Europeans due to the soviets.
- Refugees

1948 Britain Nationality Act

All British colonies had the right to British citizenship therefore British

SS Empire Windrush
This brought the first large group of migrant workers from the Caribbean.
This was significant as this was the first step towards a multicultural
society in Britain.
This was not part of the British recruitment. This was simply due to the
captain of a ship wanting to fill the seats travelling to the UK as he knew
young Jamaicans were keen to travel to Britain. The SS Empire Wind rush
left on May 1948 from British colonies in Jamaica.

Immigrants settling in
Most immigrants lived with families and relatives.
Some lived in south-west London shelters previously occupied by German
and Italian prisoners from war.

The debate
Some MPs disagreed with the 1948 British Nationality Act and believed
passengers had no right to come and work in Britain.
They believed that Britain would be flooded with immirgrants.
Others disagreed as they believed immigrants fought for Britain in WW2
and this would be a sign of appreciation. They also argued that the British
economy needed all the workers.

Why did Caribbean immigration increase during the 1950s?

Most immigrants settled quickly and successfully. They were able to send
money home too.
For employers this was their perfect solution as they welcomed young
hard working people.
Due to the success of the SS Empire Windrush many British people
expected new immigrants as they investigated living conditions in the
Caribbean and found it to poor housing, poor wages, poor healthcare and
poor education system. They were also affected by 2 hurricanes and the
sugar cane business was very depressed. The only problem was the cost
of sailing to the UK was too much, so they were more likely to sail to the

In 1952 USA put a restriction on immigrants which reduced the amount

from 65000 to 800 a year.
In 1956 UK helped to pay boat fares for immigrants in which workers paid
it back gradually as they earnt some money from the London Transport.

By late 50s the biggest source of income for Jamaica was the money being
sent from UK.
This meant they were able to buy luxuries.

Wave 3

In the period of 1960s to 1970s immigration changed.

Most Caribbeans planned on staying in Britain as they now had more
family here.
And also a lot more Asians began to migrate. One of the reason for this
was due to the expulsion of Asians from Kenya and Uganda.
The influx of Kenyan Asians was in 1967 and Kenyan Ugandans in 1972.
However in this period more people left Britain than came in as British
people went to look for a better place of living in places such as Canada
and Australia. These countries encouraged this by offering cheap fares.

Asian Migration in 1950s

The British Nationality Act of 1948 gave many Asians the right to live and
work in Britain.
After India and Pakistan became to different countries. This led to violence
and many Asians migrating to Britain.
Some were very skilled successful people and others rural labourers.
The most amount of Asian immigrants came from Africa in the 60s as they
were pushed.
Why did Kenyan Asians come to the UK in 1967

Kenya was a British Colony and in 1963 they gained independence.

They had new government and Prime minister Jomo Kenyatta gave the
100,000 kenyans a choice to be either Kenyan or british. 95,000 chose to
stay british so they can keep their british passports.
Most Asian Kenyans were generally earning more than black Kenyans so
the government declared all Asian Kenyans were foreigners and only
allowed to work on a temporary basis.
So most fled to Britain as they had a british passport.

In 1967 1000 kenyans came every week. By 1968 they were 20000
Britain decided to put a limitation.

What happened in Uganda?

In 1972 resentment was building up in ugandas black community.

Idi speech I will make you feel as if you sitting on fire. Your main interest
is to exploit the economy for years and now I say to you all GO!
President Idi amin asked for financial help however was refused, this led
him to calling the Asian population of Uganda bloodsuckers and issued
them to be gone in 90 days from august 1972.
Amin believed Britain would take them in.
Amin then issued a second decree where he declared all profefessionals
such lawyers and doctors must stay and it would be seen as treason if
they left.
Britain offered Asian Ugandans a choice of either Indian ir british passport,
most chose Britain as they believed they would offer them more stablility.
In the end 27,000 asian Ugandans went to Britain.

Experience of West Indians immigrants in 1950s.

Despite many Caribbean immigrants being invited by the British
government or organisations which needed them, they were quickly to
face racial discrimination which was known as the colour bar.
Despite some racism in Britain some people appreciated black GIs who
also fought in the war.
Racism affected 3 aspects of life in particular.
1. Housing
Common for boarding houses to put racist signs e.g. no black, no
Landlords would say they are not racist and only thinking of the
Banks would not give those loans or mortgages.
No council houses as they must have lived in Britain for 5 years.
However most West indies did not intend on living in Britain for too
This meant they lived in poor unwanted houses that was hugely
affected from the war.
They were becoming areas in London where they were largely
populated with Jamaicans.

2. Jobs
Most found it easy to find a job however faced difficulties in work.
Most jobs they did, they were over qualified for however earn more
money than there home
Black nurses in NHS were discouraged from getting further
Black people did not apply for highly qualified jobs as they knew they
would not get it.
In 1955 they were protests about people complaining about their bring
too many black workers.
In 1958 Trade union congress wanted to put an end to all immigrant
workers entering the country.
Some accused immigrants of coming to Britain to abuse the benefit
system despite being in employment and being called by the

3. Leisure
2/3 were single young men
They had a lot of time and were excited to come to Britain for the
However the colour bar affected their leisure time.
Some pubs banned them and others gave them a bad reception.
They usually found themselves in unlicensed drinking clubs. This was
also a problem because these clubs had reputation for bad stuff e.g
fighting and prostitution.
Placed like Notting hill there was tension between white and black

1958: Summer violence