A difficult life - Coming of the Irish

A difficult life - Coming of the Irish


From the 1820s onwards the Irish have come to the region in search of work. This flow of migrants has ebbed and flowed but throughout they have played a significant part in the development of the West Midlands.

In the beginning the lives of Irish migrants in Wolverhampton and Birmingham was hard. The slums in which they lived were often some of the poorest. But today we recognise that their work in fields, factories and foundries provide the sweats and muscle on which the industrial might of the Black Country was built.

Then again after the Second World War Irish voices were prominent on the major construction sites of the region as the housing, roads and hospitals were rebuilt.

Social historian and broadcaster, Professor Carl Chinn examines how the Irish came to the West Midlands.

Keywords: Irish, navvies, Birmingham, immigration, labour


A celebration of the city’s history and achievements, revealing the wonderfully rich diversity of Birmingham’s people. Illuminating little-known aspects of the city’s history as well as rethinking traditional events and activities. Presenting up-to-date historical and archaeological research to a general readership: locally, nationally and internationally. Written by experienced and distinguished...



Carl Chinn

In: Birmingham, Carl Chinn,

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