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Islington marks Refugee Week 2020 with online guided walking tour

PUBLISHED: 13:52 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:52 16 June 2020

Carlo Gatti, a Swiss-Italian economic migrant to the borough. Picture: Islington Council

Carlo Gatti, a Swiss-Italian economic migrant to the borough. Picture: Islington Council

Islington Council

A guided walking tour has been designed to let participants imagine the situations faced by refugees and economic migrants who have settled in Islington after fleeing situations like South African apartheid and the Irish potato famine.

Lajos Kossuth, a 19th Century Hungarian political exile, at Copenhagen Fields. Picture: Islington CouncilLajos Kossuth, a 19th Century Hungarian political exile, at Copenhagen Fields. Picture: Islington Council

The human stories behind why and how Hungarian and South African political refugees, German Jewish refugees, West Indian, Italian and Irish economic migrants, and Somali war refugees settled in Islington are recounted to mark Refugee Week 2020, from June 15 to 21.

Locations like the African National Congress (ANC) former London HQ in Mackenzie Road, the Victoria Tavern in Holloway Road, which was frequented by Irish economic migrants over three centuries, and Carlo Gatti’s ice well in Caledonian Road, Barnsbury, are marked in an online guided tour of Islington’s historical sites.

Whether it was to escape war, persecution or economic hardships, many refugee communities came to Islington to start new lives, grow their livelihoods and fight injustice.

Islington Museum, Cally Clock Tower and Islington Guided Walks, had planned to host walks in person. Instead because of the coronavirus pandemic, the programme of events will be entirely online.

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The national programme of arts, cultural and educational events celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK, to encourage a better understanding between communities.

Cllr Sue Lukes, Islington’s migrants’ champion, said: “The last week has reminded us of the British record of racism and colonialism and its legacy of inequality and oppression. So, when we share these other stories, of new arrivals made welcome and becoming part of our borough’s history, we do not forget this.

“This online tour is a great and inspiring way to find out more. We can all look at how so many of our families, friends and neighbours have shaped Islington lives.

“I join my fellow councillors and council staff in celebrating the refugees and migrants in our community, who make our borough the diverse, welcoming place it is.

“This online tour is a great and inspiring way to find out more.”

To find out more see islingtonlife.london/place-of-refuge.


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