This article is a contribution from our recent collaboration with pupils at Cedar Mount Academy. 

Manchester city is known for being culturally diverse. There are different reasons as to the source of Manchester’s diversity. Firstly, Manchester became diverse due to its extensive history of migration from different parts of Europe and the world. Secondly, Manchester was the world’s first industrialised city that drove the industrial revolution and this drew people from all over the world.

There are several ethnic groups in Manchester which consist of the white people with 66.7%, Asian people approximately 17.1%, black people 8.6%, and Arabs 1.9%.

Black migration

Before the Windrush there had been black people that had migrated to Manchester since 1555. During 1672 the slave trade begun and by the 1700s the population of black people in Manchester had increased due to slave trade. The Windrush generation was when the government needed people to rebuild after WW2. After the rebuild was done some of the Caribbeans decided to stay in Manchester. Moss Side was where the Caribbeans mostly settled. There were only 350 Caribbeans during this time, but the number increased further in 1981.

Arab migration

In 1798 there were 4 Arab trading houses in the city drawn by the Manchester cotton trade and by 1890 the number of Arab trading houses had increased to 400. In 1838, it was reported that the Ottoman Sultan (King) was importing more goods from Manchester than from the rest of Europe. By the late 19th century, the trading houses had attracted merchants from Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

In North Africa, one of the people it attracted were the Moroccan traders. The Moroccans came to Manchester as traders attracted by the opportunities the textile industry offered. They later returned to Morocco but integrated their community into Manchester life. During the 1960s, there was mass migration because of the job opportunities and a lack of jobs and levels of poverty in Morocco during this time.

Asian migration

In the 1950s the migration of Asian people increased significantly, mainly due to a complex interplay of political, economic, environmental and social factors. For south Asians arriving in the UK, getting through immigration control could be a challenge. The discrimination faced in the workplace made people feel like they didn’t belong and had to move on to get factory jobs. People claimed if there was more information and support that these might have helped them to pursue their rights.