Remembering the past, growing the future

A group of young people sit around a table with pens and archival photographs in front of them.

Young people taking part in an education workshop looking at copies of records from The National Archives.

In marking the end of the First World War we embarked on a project to recognise the contribution of colonial seafarers, many of whom came from what today is Pakistan, and whose stories link with more recent migrations. 

We collaborated with West Yorkshire Archive Service and Next Generation to share various stories contained in The National Archives’ own collection of the service of colonial seafarers. The collaboration offered new audiences insight into our collection, and we were also able to host a visit to The National Archives and run an education workshop in Wakefield

Blog posts

An identity card for a seaman called Bag Kushia that records various information about him including birthplace, distinguishing features, union, and next of kin, as well as his fingerprints.

Bag Kushia’s British seaman’s identity card. Catalogue ref: BT 372/3/76

Remembering the past, growing the future: The story of the Pakistani community in Wakefield

As part of our outreach work to highlight the often forgotten story of these early colonial seafarers, many of whom came from what is today Pakistan, and whose stories link with more recent migrations in the post-World War Two era, we collaborated with West Yorkshire Archive Service and Next Generation. 

Both organisations had already started a project looking at the story of the Pakistani community in Wakefield. ‘This is my story, now tell me yours’ was a Heritage Lottery-funded project to set up the Wakefield Asian Archive. The project worked with young people to record stories and collect memories of their families and the wider community. Oral history recordings, photographs and documents were digitised to create the online archive and a large exhibition was held at West Yorkshire History Centre during summer/autumn 2017. 

Read the blog post here.

Online learning resource

Monochrome photograph of four South Asian men in overalls sitting on a wall looking at the camera.

Men working in a dye house in Wakefield.

As part of this project, a new online learning resource for schools was developed: The Story of the Pakistani Community in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 

This learning story tells the story of the Pakistani community in Wakefield. It draws on records over 100 years old to set the historical context for later migrations. Among the questions this resource asks are: Why did they come to Wakefield? How did they settle here, and what was life like for the community in those early days?