UNCOVERED: London’s East End where Cockneys are fleeing amid mass influx of migrants

14 May

“We’ve always been a country where immigration plays a part, but not on the scale you find now.

“You go from Aldgate to Barking and there is very few English people left.”

However, there are some multi-generation immigrants who feel like they belong to the East End, like Usmann Hussain whose family moved to East London from Bangladesh in the 1930s.

Mr Hussain says although he was pleased to see more Muslims move into the area, he misses the white friends he grew up with. 

He said: “I do often think if my childhood friends were around right now they would say ‘He’s more British than us.He’s more proud of being an East Ender than us’.”

Tony Cunningham, the son of a Jamaican immigrant and mother from London, whose family have lived in the capital for more than 150 years, said he considers himself a cockney.  

The bus driver revealed how he now feels like an outsider in his own community. 

He added: “I feel alone. Most of the Muslims stick together, their children stick together. If you are an outsider, they don’t want no part of you whatsoever.”

However Emma Peltier, headteacher at Drew Primary, defended the area’s ethnic make up, saying: “We no longer live in a mono-cultural society, we have 43 languages spoken and at least once a week we have a child arrive who has no English. Really quickly children pick up the language.

“Schools and children can be a fantastic way of people assimilating into society because children don’t see colour and children don’t see religion.”

Last Whites of the East End will air on BBC1 on Tuesday, May 24, at 10.45pm. 


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