07/11/2011 Inside Out East Midlands


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07/11/2011

Barbara Jacobs explores how Leicester transformed itself from one of the most racist cities in the UK to one of the most tolerant. And Tony Roe reveals the 'thankful villages'.


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Hello. Tonight, Inside Out is in Derby to remember a war long past

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and some more recent battles. It was branded the most recent --

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racist city. How did Leicester transform itself? No Blacks, No

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Irish, No Dogs. This is Britain! And later in the programme, Tony

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Roe recovers the remarkable story of the villages with no War

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Memorial. The idea that there are villages and communities where

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everyone came home, what joy and happiness there must have been.

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This is Inside Out for the East Imagine a city where pubs, clubs

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and guest houses openly discriminated against immigrants,

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and where racial tension ran so high there were riots on the

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streets. That's how broadcaster and student protester Barbara Jacobs

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remembers the Leicester of her youth. We asked her to go back in

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time to investigate how a city with such problems could become the

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diverse community of today. And we should warn you, her film does

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start with some offensive language from the era and includes violent

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It was supposed to be comic satire. But not so long ago, Alf Garnett's

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rants reflected more of the mainstream view than we care to

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admit. The great British Empire! It is being given away to a load off...

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That makes for an uncomfortable watch. I know people call it

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political correctness, but I would rather be correct that listen to

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that. However, it was a piece of its time. Its time was the 1970s.

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There was I huge raid -- wave of resentment, what he calls the

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British Empire and should have been called the British Commonwealth,

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there were floods of people coming in, and naturally this led some

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people to feeling very resentful, particularly in the city which at

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that time was Britain's most racist city. It was one of the biggest

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police operations ever mounted outside London. 5,000 police men

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were brought to Leicester from 5,000 -- several forces. Some of

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the worst violence occurred on the campus of the University of

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Leicester. The fact that they are born here does not make them

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British. They must be repaid created along with those who had

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actually come into this country -- repatriated.

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It was a time of pitched battles on the streets of the midlands as the

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Anti-Nazi League and the National Front fought each other, and far

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right views surged in popularity. But I want to find out how

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Leicester fought back against its racist reputation. Has the

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prejudice simply moved out of the town and into the countryside? To

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find out, I need to revisit my own protesting past. Let's rewind to

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1964 when I was a student at the University of Leicester. Just down

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there, it was the most racist public in Leicester. Black people

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were allowed downstairs but not upstairs. What is that all about?

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It is like apartheid, that is what it struck us as. So we decided we

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would do less it in. What was amazing was that our local

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newspaper, the Leicester Mercury, actually did give us a bit of a

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slot. It was just a bit bigger on the front page and a lorry sinks

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into whole. Today, it would be all over the front page. But of course,

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times have changed. Her the new national health service starts,...

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When the Second World War ended, Britain needed workers - huge

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numbers of them - to help reconstruct a war-battered country.

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The appeal went out, and immigrants of 'good stock' were welcomed from

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Britain's Commonwealth counties, including the Caribbean, to fill

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the gaps in the labour market. I'm meeting three people who arrived in

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Leicester during this time, to find I arrived from Jamaica. And during

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the week, and as it church-going member of the community, I tried to

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go to the church across the road. I walked in, and the pastor said,

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welcome, but when did you come and when are you going back? No Blacks,

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No Irish, no children have no dogs. This is Britain!

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Staff shortages in British hospitals had been a problem even

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before the founding of the NHS in 1948. In the 50s, the workforce

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boomed, and senior NHS staff travelled to the Caribbean to

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recruit new staff. But when new nurses arrived in Britain, they

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found their welcome was often less than warm. Some of the patients

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enquired as to whether it was the first time I had worn clothes. And

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if it was the first time I had worn a bra. And I said, no. You are

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talking about something that is different. I said I am not from

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Africa, where you see dancing ladies without clothes. So they did

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not have a clue, basically? they were ignorant in that fact,

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that we were British subject. After months of protest, the

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landlord of 'The Nelson' finally agreed to lift his ban on black

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customers. We'd won our battle, but we hadn't won the war. World events

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were about to put an even greater strain on racial harmony in

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Leicester. Martin Luther King had a dream. So did the Ugandan dictator

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Idi Amin. But a completely different kind of a dream. They

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hold situation... Idi Amin's dream was to expel the

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country's entire Asian community. Over many years, they'd become a

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dominant force in the economy of this former British colony, playing

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key roles in business, trade and the civil service. There have been

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milking the economy of the country. The responsibility in Uganda, it is

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the responsibility of Great Britain. Amin accused the Asian community of

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hoarding wealth and sabotaging 'his' country. In reality, it was

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his own extravagance which put a strain on the national budget. A

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land grab began, and thousands of Ugandan Asians were given 90 days

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to leave. Many of them have British passports. 50,000 of them were

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thrown out. Some went to North America, some meant -- went to

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other countries but the majority came to Britain. At the majority of

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those who came to Britain came here, to Leicester.

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In 1972, Leicester was a prosperous city and many Ugandan Asians found

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jobs in hosiery manufacturing. But was Leicester the safe haven they

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hoped for? I'm meeting brother and sister Nisha and Atal who fled

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Uganda as children. You came here and thought it was a safe haven,

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clearly it was not, was it? Something happened. That is correct.

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Back in those days we had a glorious summer's. And they used to

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attract a fair ground here. There was a group of English boys, boys

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or men, they did not seem to be troubling anyone. But what they

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were doing was taking all the wooden stakes out of the fence. And

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the minute the fairground finished, that was the cue. Or you could see

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was about 60 guys running across. They were swinging those things

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indiscriminately. He ever came in the way, whether it was an man or a

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woman, a child, whatever. At person got hit. You can imagine, it was

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pandemonium. It is probably the most frightening episode of my life.

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I would put it on a Power, I would remember being scared at the

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airport in Uganda with all the soldiers. And all of a sudden, that

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whole thing was re enacted but in a different way.

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 770 seconds

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BELLS RING. We are in love for breath. -- we are in Loughborough.

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The cavalry regiment are farmers or farm workers. A ledger listing the

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names of the meant holds a surprise.. It says he joined up in

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1911. He would have been 11 years old. He had lied about his age. He

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was 15 when he first saw action. He was a lance corporal in 1916. At

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the age of 17, too young to fight, he was lance corporal and having

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fought a major battle. The Scot -- astonishing. The battle is

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remembered every year at Bradgate Park, near Leicester. Some of the

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cadets here were probably as old as some of the soldiers in World War

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One. The Honorary Colonel of the Leicestershire and Derbyshire

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Yeomanry today is the great- grandson of the man who left them -

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- led them into battle. This is rather a nice little picture. It

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does not see the light of day very often, but it is something very

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special. These squadrons were under attack on the front line.

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squadron's wanted to withdraw, and they started to withdraw, and a

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great cry went up, hold hard, listened -- Leicestershire

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Yeomanry! They subsequently fell. His great-grandfather led A

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squadron. My grandfather, a was a commanding officer, was killed at

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half-past six in the morning. He was out of it before the battle

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really got going. The a squadron, which a Greek -- originally come

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from Melton Mowbray and luck -- run and, held the line, and had they

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not done so the Germans would have gone straight through. My dad was

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in covering letter seat Scotland. - We have a photograph of him here

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from his wedding in August 1914. He would have been 15 years old. He

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does look older. He could pass for 17 or 18 quite easily. He was the

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to save the day at the battle. The Life Guards had retreated.

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bombardment had completely wiped out the front trenches. It had

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disappeared in red mist. A knot of Yeoman with the infantry attack the

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Your dad would have been in that front trench. I don't think he

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would have forgotten it. He would not have forgotten it until the end

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of his days. We found a veteran of that battle on his 100 birthday. I

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did the interview 15 years ago, not knowing he had fought with my dad.

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You must have seen some terrible things. Both sides were in battled.

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There are many more stories to be found in villages. On the first

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grave you see is one of the returning soldiers. Dead at 23

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years old. He died from exhaustion or four years after the war. In

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Nearly 50 years ago, as a student in the 60s, Barbara Jacobs was on the frontline of the war against racism in Leicester. The city had the unenviable reputation as the most racist in the UK. In 1972, the arrival of thousands of Ugandan Asians triggered National Front marches through the streets and an outcry from locals. Inside Out asked Barbara to go back to meet some of those involved and find out how the city transformed itself from one of the most racist to one of the most tolerant places in the UK. Also tonight, Tony Roe is on the trail of the few - exploring the 'thankful villages' which didn't need a war memorial because everyone returned from World War One.