Raiders of the Lost Archives
Welcome to our hall of fame. This is a selection of some of our prize possessions – documents, photographs, books, pamphlets and maps (they will all find a place eventually). Here you will be able to see old favourites of ours as well as exciting new acquisitions. New items will be added regularly and past glories will still shine in an ‘album’ of treasures from the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. Follow the link by ‘clicking’ on Other Office Treasures to see what you may have missed!
British Asians from Uganda Please Report Here
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda. On 9 August 1972, President Idi Amin signed the Final Order, expelling Asians with British passports from Uganda. They had 90 days to leave, taking only 30 kilos of luggage and an allowance of £50 per family.
Many families flew into Stansted Airport, and then made their way over to the Midlands seeking work and a place to call home. Some had contacts in Leicester, and so they made their way to the city, hoping to find accommodation and work.
This image of a blackboard notice put up at Leicester’s London Road station is one of the few in our archive which relates to these events [ref: DE3736, box 20, London Road folder 2] . It was taken by a local photographer in October 1972, and in its very amateurishness it reflects the fact that Leicester wasn’t prepared for the tide of immigrants it was receiving. It wasn’t just heads of households seeking work – it was entire families, from the very young to the very old – all arriving within a very short space of time, and in a very traumatised state.
Much has been made of the city council’s attempt to head off potential refugees by advertising in Ugandan newspapers the lack of opportunities in Leicester, but once Ugandans started arriving in the city, local charitable groups rallied round to help them settle in. This sign was part of this belated attempt to restore some order to the process of resettlement. The words appear in two languages – again an early sign of the city coming to terms with the need to adapt to the realities of a multi cultural society.
For further information about Ugandan Asians arriving in Leicester, see the wonderfully comprehensive Marett archive at the Record Office, ref. DE6314. This collection forms the working papers of Valerie Marett as she wrote her important book about these years of immigration to Leicester [Immigrants settling in the city, Leicester, pub 1989, ref L301.451].
Hear some of the stories of Ugandan Asians who settled in Leicester by logging on to www.movinghere.org.uk and searching under ‘Ugandan Asians’.
This year, Leicester City Arts & Museums service is planning an exhibition for mark this anniversary. They are asking for stories, objects, photographs and memorabilia about the experiences of Ugandan Asians living in Leicester over the last 40 years. Contact: Philip French 0116 225 4980
Page Last Updated: 16 February 2012