Heritage: Irish and Pakistani migrants who settled in Cricklewood form part of new exhibition

Mayor of Brent, Cllr Arshad Mahmood with students from the 360 Arts at the Generations of Learning e

Mayor of Brent, Cllr Arshad Mahmood with students from the 360 Arts at the Generations of Learning event. Picture: Ashford Place - Credit: Archant

The stories of Irish and Pakistani migrant communities who came to Cricklewood have come to life in a new project.

Ashford Place, in Ashford Road, was awarded Heritage Lottery funding to work with young people to record older generations’ experiences of settling in Cricklewood.

The resulting ‘Generations of Learning’ exhibition, booklet and DVD was officially launched on October 4 at special evening attend by the mayor of Brent, Cllr Arshad Mahmood, and Cllr Tariq Dar, chairman of the Pakistan Community Centre in Willesden.

As part of the project elders from the Irish and Pakistani community were invited to share their stories of migrating to the area in the 1950s and 1960s.

Labour shortages after WWII saw British industries actively recruiting in former colonial nations.

Cricklewood was known for its many factories and attracted thousands of immigrants, not just from Ireland and Pakistan but also from India and the West Indies.

As well as an exhibition that will be travelling to community venues around the borough, the project worked with young actors from 360 Arts performing arts school to turn the Elders’ stories into live performances.

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These performances have been turned into a DVD that will be sent out to Brent schools.

Sorcha Ni Foghluda, writer and project lead, said: “It has been wonderful to take the Elders’ words, to find the universal stories of struggles and success that we can all relate to, and have the opportunity to share their inspiration with the wider community. We hope people will enjoy the stories as much as we have.”

Danny Maher, chief exec of Ashford Place, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to record the experience of people travelling to Cricklewood in the 50s and 60s and offer some insights and thoughts on how immigration as a headline topic is viewed and reported today.”

Carol Brophy, managing director of 360 Arts, added: “Students were honoured and privileged to be asked to re-tell the very poignant stories of the older generations.They learned so much and gave an outstanding performance. I am incredibly proud of them.”’

The films are also available on the Ashford Place website: ashfordplace.org.uk