Speaking for Ourselves

Sara Davidson - Changing Lenses

Sara Davidson - Changing Lenses


 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Sara Davidson - Changing Lenses

Greetings, Londoners!
‘Ey up mi duck’ is East Midlands dialect. It means Hello and, like much English, is from the language of Vikings who settled here more than a thousand years ago.

sara davidson  changing lenses

Integration means many things


sara davidson  changing lenses

Battle of Cable Street, London, October 1936
The British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosely, planned to celebrate its fourth birthday by marching  through Stepney, the centre of the Jewish East End, on 4 October, 1936.

Resistance by Jewish protesters, my family among them, was supported by Irish dockers, railway workers and the Communist Party. Protesters barricaded Cable Street and stopped the marchers.  The BUF was banned in 1940.

This photo is of a mural at St George’s Town Hall, Cable Street, Tower Hamlets, completed 1987.


sara davidson  changing lenses

sara davidson  changing lenses

Cable Street, London, November 2017


sara davidson  changing lenses

Bristol Bus Boycott, 1963
When the government-owned Bristol Omnibus Company refused to employ black bus drivers or conductors, Prince Brown, Owen Henry, Paul Stephenson, Guy Bailey and Roy Hackett led a successful four-month boycott.
Ragbir Singh became the first black conductor and the boycott leaders later received honours from the Queen.

The Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968 made the colour bar illegal.

The photo is of the memorial plaque, Bristol bus station, Marlborough Street, unveiled 2014.


sara davidson  changing lenses
Grunwick strike, London  1976-78
Immigrants continued to face housing and jobs discrimination in the 1970s.
Jayaben Desai led the long strike against low pay and poor working conditions at the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratory in  North London.

Workers in other sectors came out in direct support of the mostly female migrant workforce.  One of the longest strikes in British history, its anniversary is commemorated in 2018.

This is a photo of the Grunwick Mural in Chapter Road, Willesden, unveiled 2017.


sara davidson  changing lenses

Convoy to Calais, June 2016
The French government banned a convoy of vehicles from Britain from crossing the Channel to Calais. The vehicles contained essential goods. They had been donated for people living in a makeshift camp on the French side of the Channel, themselves refused permission to cross to Britain to have their asylum and immigration claims heard.


sara davidson  changing lenses

Convoy to Calais, Dover, June 2016
British police enforced the ban.
In protest, the convoy demonstrated at the port of Dover and at the French embassy in London. The camp in Calais was later destroyed but the people remain, assisted by volunteers.


These photos and accompanying writing were made as part of the Changing Lenses; London stories of Integration project. You can listen to my podcast for the project here: https://soundcloud.com/migrant-voice/sara-davidson

Photo credits:

Ey Up Mi Duck! Scollins & Titford, Ilkeston (1979) Cover design by Richard Scollins - reprinted by permission.

Wordcloud:  Borislav Marinic / Alamy Stock Vector