July 8th, 2009 admin

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s 75 years since Bradford-born JB Priestley wrote his classic English Journey, a snapshot of his travels around the country chronicling the thoughts of ordinary people. What did it mean to be English?

In last Sunday’s Observer, journalist Sarfraz Manzoor writes about his visit to Bradford – a city transformed by mass immigration, but cited in a recent survey for its essential ‘Englishness’ – and ask what that means today. Here’s a short extract from ‘Bradford reflects on many shades of Englishness’:

“My time in Bradford is drawing to an end. What I have found is a more complicated picture than I had expected. The city did feel divided and I can see why some whites could feel that much of Bradford more closely resembles Pakistan than England and are turning to extremist parties. And yet digging deeper I also found signs of hope in places like Saltaire Cricket Club. Things were rarely quite what they appeared. Ed, the chairman of the cricket club, was white but adamant he was not English since he had spent the first seven years of his life in Scotland. Meanwhile his friend Anil had been born in India but said that he felt utterly English. And then there was Husman Khan. He was the one who had been in the throng burning copies of The Satanic Verses, but not long after the book-burning Khan met a girl -a white girl from Halifax, whom he married and with whom he has four children. I met his 16-year-old daughter, Najda, her head covered in a headscarf that she had bought, she told me, “in a hippie clothing shop”. She belongs to a generation whose identity is as much about the music on their digital devices as the heritage of their parents. What does Englishness mean to you, I ask. “It’s about being prim and proper,” suggests Najda. “You either laugh or cry and the English laugh at it all.” ”

Read all of Manzoor’s article here.

I’d be interested to know what the survey is that he mentions in the article related to Bradford and Englishness. He makes no other reference to it and a quick search on the web reveals no leads?


  1. This may help:

    Looking forward to your book.

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