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The Italian Quarter

Report by young people from Al-Hijrah School, Birmingham

There was a wave of migration to the UK in the 19th century, from villages in the Sora Valley in Italy.


We discovered that three families played a major role in the emigration of people from the region. The Delicata family. The Volantes. And the Tavoliers.
These families settled in Digbeth, Birmingham. They provided a support network for other families. They also established Birmingham's Italian Quarter as a place dominated by Nobladans - speakers of the Neapolitan dialect.


The Italian community was concentrated on Bartholemew Street – but it's not there anymore. As so many people came from one area in Italy, we wondered what they brought with them when they moved here - in terms of music, songs, stories, dances, and other folk traditions. The Italian community has now dispersed – so has all that cultural heritage been lost?


We met Micky Volante, who told us about his memories of his parents and grandparents, and about growing up in Brum.


We also met Dorothy Bradbury, who told us about the Arandora tragedy, and her campaign to make sure that people never forget the injustices suffered by the Italian community in the Second World War.


Members of the Volante family in 1902

Dorothy Bradbury's family in 1914

Project group: Ma'az Abbasi;  Ghani Abdul; Sulaymaan Abduljabar;  Abdullahi Abdullahi; Ibrahim Ahmed;  Masroor Ahmed; Abu Ali; Mohammed Ali;  Mohammed Alom; Muhammad Altaf; Uqbah Amin; Hamza Asadullah;  Daud Atif; Abdullaah Bah; Ghassan Burhan; Arfan Faizan; Abdulaziz Hassan; Mohammed Hetisham; Ibrahim Hishaam; Sulaiman Khan; Uwayce Malik; Haroun Mohammed-Kabir; Subhaan Saghir;  Hussain Shabir; Mussadiq Shah; Syed Shah; Mohammed Suleman; Mohammed Thouqeer; Amaan Zahoor, ​Aliya;  Haleema Ali; Khadijah Ali; Amal Alim;  Anisa Arif; Sumayah Asif; Khadijah Azhar; Ayesha Bakib; Maryam Butt; Yasmin Cherif; Razan Elmahi; Asiya Gure;  Safa Husnat; Maryam Ibrar; Ammarah Intizar; Marya Islam; Sara Ismail; Humaira Kauser;  Aishah Khan; Sanah Khitab; Samra Kouser;  Asima Nessa; Maryam Noor;  Tayyibah Parveen; Aisha Qaisar; Saarah Rashid; Shamaila Sajid; Aishah Sakhi; Sumaiyah Yehia; Muminah Zafar

School liaison (for Al-Hijrah School): Mohammed Hassan

To return to the main 'Lost Communities' webpage, click here.

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