Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Britain: a land of Dichter und Denker?

From Tristam Hunt at the Times: some unexpected love from across the Ärmelkanal:

It wasn't just Manchester. J.B.Priestley would later describe his own prewar Bradford as “at once one of the most provincial and yet one of the most cosmopolitan of English provincial cities” celebrated for its German residents. “I can remember when one of the best-known clubs in Bradford was the Schillerverein. And in those days a Londoner was a stranger sight than a German... A dash of the Rhine and the Oder found its way into our grim runnel - ‘t' mucky beck'.” Indeed, much of Victorian Britain's commercial pride was built with German grit.


I mean...ja.


Alex said...

There's still a German church...it's one of the sad things about Bradford that all this just vanished. People changed their names and eliminated all traces. No surprise, really; we even had our own Nazi, Ernst-Wilhelm Bohle, the head of the Nazi Party Organisation of Germans Abroad and Rudolf Hess's right hand man, born in Bradford in 1903.

J. Carter Wood said...

It's strange how that happens. There was a neighbourhood in Baltimore that I often drove through when I lived there that was once (late 19th/early 20th centuries) predominantly Polish. It no longer is, but there are old buildings (banks, churches) with polish words chiselled into their façades and entry-ways.

According to Panikos Panayi's book, Immigration, Ethnicity and Racism in Britain 1815-1945, Germans were the second largest immigrant group in Britain until 1891 (when they were overtaken by Jews from Russia and Poland). (The Irish were number one.)

As I mentioned a while back, they sound like a lot of fun.I didn't know about Bohle. Surely a native son to be proud of....