Post-War Immigration

  • Windrush Generation: In 1948, the Empire Windrush brought the first group of Caribbean immigrants to Britain, kick-starting the mass migration of people from the Commonwealth to fill post-war labour shortages.
  • Legislation, such as the British Nationality Act 1948, granted citizenship to all Commonwealth citizens and thus facilitated large-scale immigration to Britain.
  • By the 1960s, significant communities from the Caribbean, India, Pakistan and other Commonwealth countries had been established, particularly in urban areas such as London, Birmingham, and Leicester.

Impact on British Society

  • These new communities added to Britain’s cultural diversity, influencing British food, music, fashion and more.
  • This period also saw the establishment of immigrant-supporting organisations like The West Indian Standing Conference and The Board of Deputies of British Jews to protect the rights and interests of immigrant communities.
  • However, it also led to social tensions, with racial discrimination resulting in events such as the Notting Hill Riots (1958).

Race Relations and Legislation

  • The government responded to these social tensions by enacting race relations legislation. The 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts made discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins illegal in public spaces, housing, and employment.
  • Notably, Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech in 1968 represented opposition to immigration and multiculturalism, leading to intense public debate and his dismissal from the Conservative shadow cabinet.
  • Despite legislative measures, racial tensions persisted into the 70s and beyond, evidenced by conflicts like the Southall Riots of 1979.

By understanding these key points, pupils can gain a comprehensive understanding of immigration during this period and how it influences Britain’s political, social and cultural spheres. Remember, these should be considered within the broader context of austerity, affluence and discontent.