4000 Miles to Home: New Surroundings

May 8, 2015 Bradford Civic Society

4000 Miles to Home: New Surroundings

Bradford snow. Bibi Parkash Kaur in a picture depicting the first time that she would have seen snow.

Part II: New Surroundings 

Introduced by Gurj Kang 

“The new environment presented a new life and culture. As the photos showcase, the landscape and the climate required an adaption of clothes, and customs.

“The Yorkshire scenery brought with the first glimpses of a much harsher and colder climate, with rolling hills, old stone, and brand new weather conditions.

“The photos also show a population openly embracing the dress codes of the day, and seeing that as a point of successful integration. Stories of immigrants would abound, where they would warn eachother that not wearing socks could result in arrest.

“For many settling in Bradford, the children that they had would shift their frame of thinking from being economic migrants with the ‘Myth of return’, to effectively marrying them to this country.”

New geographies. The views within and around Bradford Moor.


Streets of Bradford. These would be the views from the new homes of those who’d recently arrived in the city.


Second wind: A photo out in the new highlands that would have replaced the hills of Hoshiarpur. Again, there is an embrace of the climate, and people would actively write back, but also use it to dress in ways that showed their progress and assimilation into England.


Home and Marriage. Initial patterns of migration were typically male, but by 1962 families were now settling. In a situation where younger males would arrive, the presence of an established married couple, with children, provided an example that they could also successfully settle and build futures. The seniority of both Sarwan Singh and Bibi Parkash Kaur meant that they acted as a surrogate familial unit for many newcomers.


Next time: we explore the role of women within the 1950s/60s community, and see what life in the mills would’ve been like for Bradford’s new citizens.