On Tuesday a new five-part series started on Radio 4 looking at different immigrant communities in Birmingham and at the centres in which they gather.
Centre of our World is, of course, presented by uberBrummie Carl Chinn. The first episode focuses on Digbeth’s Irish Centre. It’s a place that, when I worked in the Custard Factory, I passed every weekday without a thought.
It’s wonderful to hear the history and the personal stories of those that use it:
“It wasn’t easy getting a job. I walked from Balsall Heath almost to the Dunlop before I found a job. I tried at every factory the whole way out. I walked out, all the way out there, through Aston onto the Tyburn Road and I got a job in this little factory and then I got into the Dunlop where I worked for five years making bus tyres.”
It’s only 16 minutes, but also covers the effect on the community of the Birmingham pub bombings and the current decline of the West Midland Irish population. If you missed it you can listen again.
This Tuesday will be the Polish community centre.