Late 19th and early 20th Century Jewish refugees

Jewish refugees began to arrive in Bristol at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.  This was a direct result of the anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe.

1930s - 1940s Jewish refugees

Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany came from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.  The Jewish population in Bristol was mainly scattered, although a relatively significant number of Polish Jews lived in the Clifton area.  By the early 1950s Jewish refugees in Bristol comprised of 2,000 men and their dependents (Dresser and Fleming 2007).

1940s –1960s Black Caribbean

By the 1960s, there was a well established black Caribbean - mainly Jamaican - population in Bristol.  Many had migrated as a result of the British Nationality Act of 1948, which granted West Indians the right of entry to Britain.

1960s – 1970s East African Asians

The migrant Asian population in Bristol dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century, consisting mainly of merchant seamen.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s Asian refugees arrived to Bristol as a result of their mass expulsion from Uganda and Kenya.

1970s – 1980s Bangladeshis

Bangladeshi refugees came to Bristol after the civil war that resulted in the establishment of an independent Bangladesh.  A significant number of Bangladeshis settled in the Lawrence Hill, Easton and Eastville areas of Bristol.  There are now a number of Bangladeshi community organisations, such as the Bangladesh Association and the Bristol Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation.

1990s Somalis

Since the early 1990s an increasing number of Somalis have arrived in Bristol, many  escaping from bloody civil war in Somalia. The majority now live in the Easton, Eastville, Montpelier, Fishponds, St. Paul’s and Lawrence Hill areas of Bristol.  A large proportion of Somali refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol are lone parents, especially mothers, with typically large families (Awad et al 2006).

The dispersal of asylum seekers away from London and the South East to other regions of the UK was introduced under the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act in order to reduce the demand on areas where there is a lack of housing.  The dispersal process was overseen by an agency called the National Asylum Support Service (NASS), which provided support and accommodation to adult asylum seekers via contracts with various councils around the country.  As part of Home Office restructuring, NASS ceased to exist as a directorate in 2006 and all asylum support issues are now dealt with by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA).  Bristol has played its part in the reception and resettlement of asylum seeker and refugees.  In 2008 UKBA provided 210 bed spaces for asylum seekers in Bristol, with a further 25 receiving subsistence only support (Home Office, 2008).

Last Updated: 06/10/09


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