Presentation on theme: "Immigration. Introduction Although other immigrant groups in Scotland have been less visible and have had less impact, the Irish have enriched Scottish."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction Although other immigrant groups in Scotland have been less visible and have had less impact, the Irish have enriched Scottish society on an economic and cultural level. Until the 1890s, the scale of overseas immigration was small, with only a few thousand immigrants resident in Scotland. After 1891, immigration grew quite rapidly before slowing down in the early 1900s. By 1914 Scotland had nearly 25,000 European residents. Most came from southern and eastern Europe, with a quarter of the newcomers between 1891 and 1901 coming from Italy. However, the majority of the new arrivals came from eastern Europe, particularly Russia and Poland. Most were male, with a ratio of 173.6 males to every 100 females in 1911. They settled overwhelmingly in the west of Scotland, where their industrial skills were useful in finding work. Nearly half of the occupied males were in coalmining in 1911, with the next largest group (12 per cent) in tailoring. Italians crowded into the restaurant, wholesale and retail trades. However, dwarfing the number of overseas immigrants were English migrants, who came north of the border looking for industrial and commercial opportunities. As one might expect, the experiences of these different groups varied greatly. Some found acceptance, while others had to struggle to establish themselves.
Italians in Scotland Many Italians arrived on Scotlands shores in the 1890s. They came to escape drought, famine and particularly poverty. They saw Scotland as place where they could achieve a better life. However it was the First World War that brought a sizeable population of Italians, over 4000, to Scotland. Glasgow quickly became the third largest community of Italians in the UK.
Jews in Scotland It is estimated that there were 300 Jews in Glasgow in 1883. This figure was set to rise significantly in the coming years. With the influx of immigrants increasing, Scotland witnessed an increase in its foreign population after 1881. This trend continued in the approach to the First World War. Most of this new group of immigrants were Russian Jews fleeing poverty and persecution in their native land. In 1881 there were 225 Russians in Scotland (3.5 per cent of the total foreign population of Scotland) rising to 6102 (24.7 per cent). The main area of settlement was the Gorbals in Glasgow. There were estimated to be 6500 Jews living in the Gorbals in 1901 and 18 years later there were 9000. The Gorbals was attractive because of its cheap accommodation, but once roots had been established and individuals began to prosper there was a movement towards Pollockshields and to areas of the West End.
Jews at work Initially a significant number of Jews in Scotland were tailors. Others were important in the growth and development of the cigarette industry in Glasgow. Hawking and peddling were also popular among Jews in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where 10 per cent were involved in these occupations.
Assimilation of Jews The Aliens' Act of 1905 did much to halt the number of immigrants coming to Scotland. The Jewish community in Scotland prospered and made a substantial contribution to Scottish society, particularly in the legal profession. There is little evidence today of anti-Semitism in Scottish society.
Lithuanian immigrants Lithuanian immigrants began entering Scotland from the early 1890s. The majority were agricultural workers who had been pushed off the land by poverty due to agricultural depression. It is unfair to conclude that many were fleeing the Tsars regime. Of the Lithuanians who settled in Scotland, many were on route to America but were persuaded by industrial agents to come and work in the mines and steelworks. An example of this is the creation of a small Lithuanian community in the west of Scotland, particularly in Coatbridge where some 5000 to 6000 immigrants lived and worked.
Lithuanian assimilation The newcomers were received with hostility and suspicion by the local mining community. The Lanarkshire Miners' Union offered to support any strikes against the Lithuanian presence in the area. People were suspicious of the Lithuanians because they were seen to undercut wages. Furthermore, many were unhappy with their Catholic religion. There were cultural differences too – many perceived the Lithuanians to be drunkards and therefore acting inappropriately. The situation did improve as the Lithuanian miners joined with their fellow Scots in fighting to improve conditions in the mining industry. They also won respect from locals for their community spirit. Very soon, the Lithuanians had their own clergy, two newspapers, insurance societies, shops and other recreational groups.
Lithuanians and the First World War The advent of the First World War brought about the collapse of the Lithuanian community in the west of Scotland. Seeing themselves as Russian, some 900 men refused to fight for Great Britain and as such departed for Archangel in 1917. Nevertheless, there was also a sizeable portion who did fight on the side of Great Britain. Those who left for Russia did not return and after the hostilities the British authorities began to repatriate those who remained. Women and children were offered repatriation in lieu of poor relief and many accepted it rather than starve. Some 400 women and children left for Lithuania in 1920 and after this the community disintegrated. Those who were left were assimilated into the Scottish life and only a few traces of this once vibrant community remain.
Conclusion The experience of immigrant groups in Scotland was little different to that in other countries. Discrimination and hostility gradually gave way to assimilation, after a protracted struggle. Apart from the skirmishes between Irish Catholics and native Protestants, the process was accomplished in a peaceful manner. Violence played little part in the immigrant experience in Scotland.