The study of migration offers an opportunity to consider how changes which occurred in the last years of the British Empire affected the lives of ordinary people and it would be an inattentive historian who overlooked the conspicuous and compelling role that migration has played in the development of public history in Britain. There are a variety of practical, theoretical and even reputational reasons why those people who participated in, or endured, voluntary or coerced relocation during the era of British decolonisation make attractive subjects for historians. The most mundane of these is that many of the migrants are still alive and willing to tell their stories; and in places like London, Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford they share the city with universities. Yet geographical proximity is not the determining consideration because for many years such migrant communities were ignored by historians. More recently the study of people on the move has been given impetus, first by the injunction to write ‘history from below’, then by the requirement for inter-disciplinarity and currently by the emphasis on transnationalism.
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