First impressions of arriving in Coventry

Though the majority of the migration by the South Asian community took place in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a small presence of Asians before this period. Today the Asian community represents the largest minority in Coventry, accounting for 11 per cent of the population. Documenting the history of the South Asian migration to Coventry has not been done before and this project presents a unique opportunity. This is an important and dramatic period in the city’s history. Firstly faced with the challenge of recovering from the destruction caused by World War II and then eventually becoming a city, which attracted economic migrants to seek opportunities in the city.

The following are some personal stories of the impression people had when they first arrived in the UK and then coming over to Coventry. Many arrived when it was cold, the sort of temperatures people were not used to, but they adjusted quickly and adapted to the lifestyle.

Chhuar Singh, arrived in Coventry in 1956.

 “In 1956, on Christmas Day, I came over to England. My first experience of being in England was that there was about two foot snow around Heathrow airport. Well being a child at that time you see, I had very little vision of England, how it would be. Well it was completely different from the village life I had been living in India.


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