From Ta'izz To Tyneside
An Arab Community In The North-East Of England During The Early Twentieth Century
This book is the first in-depth study of early Arab immigrants to Britain, and provides a unique insight into their everyday lives. During the First World War, several thousand Arab seafarers arrived in a number of British ports; most came from the Yemen and neighbouring parts of Britain's Aden Protectorate. They represent the first significant Muslim communities to settle in Britain.
The book focuses on Tyneside because this is the only area for which there are extensive local archival sources
Events on Tyneside are set in their national and international contexts. Throughout the interwar period, declining employment opportunities in shipping brought intense competition for jobs, and the Arab seamen found themselves unwanted guests; discrimination, abuse, regulation and control intensified.
Contents: The earliest Arab immigrants - the pioneers; Aden and the Yemmen - emigration and society; the "Big Men" of the community - the Arab boarding-house masters; unwelcome guests - competition for jobs; South Shields the storm centre - the rota system and the "Arab Riot" of August 1930; after the storm; mixed marriages and moral outrage; religious revival and political rivalries; the post-war years - integration and assimilation. Appendix: the rota system - rules of joint supply regulation and Arab engagement of all Somali and seamen.
". . . This is a book which encompasses several interests - migration, the sociology of the merchant navy, Muslim settlement in Britain, politics and society of Yemen, local English History. On each of these counts, Richard Lawless has written a valuable and enthralling study."
(Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 42, No. 2, 1997)
"The book serves as more than simply the history of a small community in the north-east of England. In methodological terms, and in the ways in which it seeks to do justice to the subjects of its study, it is a model which historians and sociologists working in the general area of 'race' and ethnicity should study carefully. Its sensitivity and its depth of research, including some wonderful photographs, deserve a considerable audience.""
(Immigrants and Minorities)
Richard Lawless is a former Director of the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Durham and currently Emeritus Reader in Middle Eastern Studies.