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DigiCULT 27
Central Europe but there is also material from
Holland, Iraq and Syria.
South Asian: content on the Indian Sub-Continent -
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. It also includes
references to Ugandan and Kenyan Asians.
The decision of Moving Here to concentrate
initially on these communities was based on two
criteria: a significant amount of relevant records
relating to each community needed to be available
in the existing collections of museums, libraries and
archives - as it is a digitisation project, there had to
be the records to digitise; and the communities cho-
sen needed to have a substantial presence at the
present time or in the heyday of their arrival in
England. Subsequently many other communities
have asked why they have not been included.
Obviously projects like Moving Here have to start
somewhere but it is very encouraging that other
communities would like similar representation. It is
heartening that some of them appreciate that this
is only the beginning despite being frustrated by
the lack of their presence. One Italian man wrote:
`I applaud the introduction of this site. However,
I was saddened to see that the Italian community
does not warrant early inclusion ...'.
Moving Here chose to cover a period of the
last two hundred years of migration to England.
However, the `Migration Histories' section of the
Website includes information before 1800 in order
to make it clear that migration to England goes back
much further. One common question Moving Here
receives via its online feedback form is why it only
looked at England.The project does not deny that
migration was equally as important in the rest of the
UK (just as it was beyond the last 200 years) but, as
The National Archives is the lead partner and is the
national archives for England, this is where the focus
fell. In addition, there are other Websites that explore
earlier migration to the UK, such as The National
Archives' `Pathways to the Past' site.
2
The 160,000 items digitised so far contain a
substantial body of content for each community,
although the amounts vary.The Irish content is
lower, perhaps because as a group they are difficult
to separate from within records that talk about
people in England as a whole. However, it may be
simply that organisations that would have significant
material for this community were not partners of
the project. (Since the launch of the project other
organisations have come forward asking if they can
contribute material relevant to the four communities.
This possibility is being looked at if subsequent
specialised funding can be obtained. However,
feedback from users and existing partners suggests
that it would be preferable to include material from
new communities, thus expanding its breadth rather
than its depth.)
There are data sources such as Asian and Caribbean
ships' passenger lists and the `Internees at Liberty in
UK' records detailing Jewish refugees granted asylum
between 1939 and 1942, Irish Reproductive Loans
for 9 Irish Counties 1848-1854 - all searchable by
name; `The Keys', a periodical from the League of
Coloured People, 1933-1939; highly valuable perso-
nal recollections such as interviews with Caribbean
RAF pilots from WW2; letters from a kindertransport
child; correspondence from Gandhi; clips of jazz
2
`Pathways to the Past' is
a resource for lifelong
learners which includes a
series of online exhibitions.
See in particular the
exhibition `Black Presence.
Asian and Black History in
Britain, 1500-1850' which
has been developed
together with the Black
and Asian Studies
Association,
http://www.pro.gov.uk/
pathways/blackhistory
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