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|Migration Histories > Jewish > Settling|
Long before the First World War put a stop to immigration from Eastern Europe, the Eastern Europeans in Manchester had begun to shed their cultural baggage and adopt English ways. This resulted partly from the Anglo-Jewish establishment's determination to anglicise them, for fear that alien habits would provoke anti-Semitism. Schools, charities and social organisations were set up, offering material, educational and social support, along with pressure to abandon Yiddish and adapt to English ways.
Notable among the initiatives were the Manchester Jews' School (founded in 1840, which moved into larger, purpose-built premises in 1869), the Jewish Board of Guardians (1867), the Jewish Ladies' Visiting Society (1884), the Jewish Working Men's Club (1886) and the Jewish Lads Brigade, of which a Manchester Battalion was founded in 1899.
At the same time, the immigrants were themselves adapting to English life, absorbing the customs of their Christian neighbours and fellow workers. The first cricket teams that included immigrant Jewish players appeared in local leagues in 1907.
In their escape from village poverty in Eastern Europe, the immigrants were plunged into appalling urban conditions in the immigrant trades. Jewish trade unions, like the Jewish Machiners, Tailors and Pressers Trade Union, together with English unions with strong Jewish membership, like the Alliance Union of Capmakers, embarked on what turned out to be a long struggle with their Jewish employers for better pay and working conditions.
Immigrants were also attracted to such political bodies as the Socialist League and the Manchester Anarchists. At least two Jewish members of the latter were arrested at protest meetings in Manchester in 1893-1894. A tradition of Socialism and Trade Unionism thus evolved in Jewish Manchester alongside a legacy of commercial enterprise.
Creators: Bill Williams
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