Britain has largely been in denial of its migrant past - it is often suggested that the arrivals after 1945 represent a new phenomenon and not the continuation of a much longer and deeper trend. There is also an assumption that Britain is a tolerant country towards minorities that distinguishes itself from the rest of Europe and beyond.

The historian who was the first and most important to challenge this dominant view is Colin Holmes, who, from the early 1970s onwards, provided a framework for a different interpretation based on extensive research. This challenge came not only through his own work but also that of a 'new school' of students who studied under him and the creation of the journal Immigrants and Minorities in 1982. 

This volume not only celebrates this remarkable achievement, but also explores the state of migrant historiography (including responses to migrants) in the twenty-first century.

chapter |6 pages

Colin Holmes

An Introduction

part 1|4 pages


chapter 1|11 pages

Uncovering Traditions of Intolerance

The earlier years of Immigrants and Minorities and the ‘Sheffield School’

chapter 3|11 pages

Looking Beyond the Nation State

The history of global migrations after 1800 1

chapter 4|11 pages

Class vs. Ethnicity

Concepts of migrant historiographies in Britain and (West) Germany, 1970s–1990s

part 2|4 pages

Places and spaces

chapter 5|11 pages

From the Profitable Strangers to the Residents of Banglatown

An exploration of the historiography of immigrants in London’s East End

chapter 6|10 pages

The Chinese Connection

An historiography

chapter 7|11 pages

The Uniqueness of London

chapter 8|12 pages

Spaces of Black History

part 3|4 pages

Community history

chapter 11|10 pages

Jewish Refugee Historiography

Moving beyond the celebratory?

chapter 12|11 pages

We Refugees?

Re-defining Britain’s East African Asians

part 4|4 pages

Racisms and anti-migrant politics

chapter 13|9 pages

Race and Colour Revisited

White immigrants in post-war Britain

chapter 14|11 pages

Family Misfortunes?

Gendered perspectives on West Indian migration, welfare policies and cultural racism in post-Second World War Britain

chapter 15|9 pages

Inside, Outside, and In-Between

Shifting borders in British immigration and disease control

part 5|4 pages

Marginal, neglected and reimagined histories

part 6|4 pages


chapter 21|12 pages

Underground Catholic Networks in Ireland and Britain

The case of Ribbonism before the famine and after

chapter 22|11 pages

‘The most varied, colourful, confusing hubub in the world’

The East End, television and the documentary imagination, July 1939 1

chapter 23|10 pages

The Equiano Effect

Representativeness and early black British migrant testimony

chapter |1 pages