Sally Richardson reviews Making It Home: experience of being Irish, Nottingham Irish Studies Group, £4.99 pbk
Produced to accompany an exhibition organised by the Nottingham Irish Studies Group Making It Home is based on interviews with 18 Irish people living in Britain.
The introduction gives a short history of Nottingham's Irish community. Irish migration to the area grew rapidly during the 19th century, many looking for employment as labourers or seasonal workers on Lincolnshire farms, and later in the textile industry.
These are touching stories from more recent migrants; some express bitterness at having to leave Ireland, but for others it came as a liberation.
They describe varying degrees of English hostility -- one man asked for a pint in a pub with a 'No Irishmen Served Here' sign.
Second- and third-generation Irish speak of asserting and maintaining their Irish identity.
There is a great deal of interest in the experience of post-war Irish immigrants to Britain, often from their children and grandchildren.
This attractively designed little book, illustrated with photos from the interviewees' own family collections, will strike a chord with many.
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