‘Faces in Westminster’ an oral history book compiled by the young people of Central London Youth Development Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund was launched today, Tuesday 25 Oct at the Houses of Parliament by Karen Buck MP.
The book is the work of young community researchers who have collected memories of Bengali parents about their hopes and fears in raising their children in London’s Westminster area during the 1960s & 1970s.
Rt. Hon Karen Buck, Member of Parliament who chaired the event said the book contains some wonderful human stories of Bengalis in Westminster. The publication is really amazing, informative and interesting. Certainly, the future generation will benefit from this book and the history element of Bengali presence in Westminster should form part of the national history of Britain.
Romena Toki, one of the editors of the book welcomed all with her opening speech said the publication was the hard work of young volunteers who worked as a team to conduct the interviews, transcribe, edit and finally designing the book. She said as British Bangladeshis whose parents had come to the UK in the 1960s & 19870s this project was very close to our heart. Giving first generation Bengali migrants a voice is a key agenda of Faces in Westminster. History can be at home, locked in the memories of loved ones. This was followed by one of the young person & co-editor Afzalur Rahman giving an overview of the project. Community researcher Ansar Ahmed Ullah reviewed the book by stating that the book is essentially the story of Bengali migration & its settlement in Westminster.
The book explores topics as to why Bengalis went to live in Westminster? what was life like there? What barriers did they face? What were the views of non-Bengalis of new settlers? How did Bengalis practice their faith & culture? What were their leisure activities and finally what does future holds for the community?
Some of the young interviewers including Fahmida Rahman, Abu Taher Toki and interviewees including Hifzur Rahman, Dr Andrew Elder and Cllr Guthrie McKie also spoke at the event. A short video of interviews was screened. Finally, with Karen Buck MP unwrapping the book the event came to an end.