What surprised us were these everyday, ordinary stories where people were living in communities where lots of couples were mixed. Newspaper reports from the period portray mixed neighbourhoods as dangerous and transgressive, rife with crime, prostitution and gambling. It demonstrates that unions between white british women and men from immigrant communities were commonplace in areas where they were thrown together in the 1920s, 30s and 40s: from south shields and liverpool’s toxteth to cardiff’s tiger bay and london’s docklands. They measured our heads and the colour of eyes and noted our complexion. I, coming from a scottish-english white conservative family, have been explicitly instructed to marry within my race. Overall almost one in 10 people living in britain is married to or living with someone from outside their own ethnic group, the analysis from the office for national statistics shows. I feel there is more racism here now than we ever had before the war.
New analysis of census figures shows that the number of people in england and wales living with or married to someone from another group jumped 35 per cent to 2. But chamion caballero, senior research fellow at london south bank university’s weeks centre, says: “there is a long history of racial mixing in the uk that people don’t talk about. Over a million britons will have ticked the census box as mixed race – and that is only half the story of the rapid growth of mixed britain,” he said.