Why did you come to Southall?

Southall offered education and with a lot of Somali people

It seemed more safe and secure.

What did you feel?

I felt that I was part of a big community but I didn’t really know much as I was really small! J

On , approximately, what year did your family come to Southall?
In Early 1997.

Date: 6/07/11

Location: FHS

Name of interviewer: Tahira Ahmad

Interviewers School: Featherstone High School

Name of person being interviewed: Sonia Sandhu

Relationship to interviewer: Friendship

1)      What do you think of Southall?

“In my point of view, I think that Southall is a precious place for me. I say this because; I believe that Southall is a multi-cultural community which comprise full of Asians and other ethnicity. Also, it makes me imagine how my parent’s community would be like, similar to Southall’s.”

2)    Do you like Southall? If yes, why?

“Yes indeed. This is because there are a huge number of Asians out in Southall. Also, I love the food, it’s nice to taste something cultural that I haven’t tried before.

3)     In which period of time did your parents arrive to Southall?

“My dad was the first one to arrive in Southall in 1985 and my mum arrived in 1981.”

4) What is your religion?

“My mum is half Hindu and Christian and my dad is a Sikh, so basically I am a Sikh.”

5) Where are you originally from?

“I am originally from India.”

6)What was the purpose for your parents to come to Southall?

“The purposes for my parents to come to Southall were that, my dad was seeking for a job and my mum came for nursing experience.

Why did you come to Southall?

Southall for me was a chance to get education and stick with my family.

Were you excited?

Yes I had a range of emotions and one of them was definitely excitement of moving to another place. A place I could call my own and home.

 What is so special about Southall?

The various cultures and the thought that so many different people can live in one small area is amazing .

Date: 6 July 2011

Location: Featherstone high school

Name of interviewer: Sonia Sandhu

Interview’s school: Featherstone high school

Name of person being interviewed: Tahira Ahmad

Relationship to interviewer: Friendship
Q1.what do you like about Southall?

  1. “I like all sorts of things about Southall for example I love the different foods and clothes Southall has to offer. It makes me feel close to home because I have most of my family and friends with me.”
Q2.which backgrounds did your parents come from?

  1. “My mum and dad were born in South Africa but my origin is Indian.”
Q3.what is your religion?

  1. “My religion is Sunni Muslim.”
Q4.who came in this country first from your family?

  1. “My Dad was the first from my family to arrive in Southall in 2002.
Q5.what does Southall mean to you?

     A. Southall makes me imagine how my life will be similar in India if I lived there even though I have never been there. It’s like home a home from my parent’s side and my culture all in one which is Southall.


     As you know moving into a new home or neighbourhood is not the easiest thing to do… but imagine coming from a WHOLE new  country, now that is definitely going to be a lot more stressful.

    “I was very, very reluctant… but I wanted a better education for you guys” says my father. According to him sending us to private school in Nigeria was a financial strain. “Public schools in Nigeria are terrible! They are NOT what they used to be.” He was prepared to give up his job as an Engineer and start a new life here in the UK. “The most difficult thing was having to live your mother because she could not get her visa… but I still pray earnestly, but of course having British citizens as children and being one myself was at our advantage.” This therefore made it easier for us to come into “our” country as my dad calls it, leaving our mother was the hardest thing to do as a family, but her latest visa application may be accepted…

     “Coming to Southall was… very surprising, we planned on staying at a Bed & Breakfast called Pay and Sleep Hotel in Southall… it was the cheapest we could find with our limited finances.” It cost £30 a night to stay at the hotel; it wasn’t the best place for a family of four staying in one room, and having to share one bathroom with at least ten other people.

 “I remember calling my Mummy and saying it felt like we were in Little India!” The population in Southall was mostly dominated by Asians which was mostly dominated by Asians which was quiet interesting for me and my siblings. “I had worked with a lot of Indians in Nigeria and I was very excited to see so many of them! Even my boss was Indian.” Of course there were much more different races. In my family we found the Legendary Southall Broadway ever so fascinating, it had this rush and excitement oozing out of it.

“I loved socialising with them and they were genuinely very friendly and nice.” Going into a local shop my dad got into a deep conversations with them and I occasionally caught him trying to “bob” his head in the manner which the Indians are known for my country Nigeria.

“In 2010 of April, we moved here with all of our belongings which we didn’t carry very much of… it was very hard for me because my best possessions (my wife) back at home alone… but I will never give up.” Looking after three kids was tough but with the encouragement of his new found friends whom he confided in, he is still able to be strong.

“The funny thing is I was extremely hesitant going into the hotel and I wasn’t even the person who had discovered it, your Aunty did.” Pay and Sleep Hotel wasn’t our first choice but we ended up there anyway.

“It’s been a year now, and we are making progress step by step, even though we haven’t lived here that long, it’s still a big story of how we ended up here.” You can fall in love with the erotic smells and excitement in Southall but if it’s not your cup of tea… then too bad.

“I remember when the Black Cab Driver dropped us off and said that it was not the ideal place for tourists… for tourists maybe not but for us its been good… na wa o!”

“Being in Southall was an experience… now we have our home here in Green ford but Southall will always be our first home in London.” It’s amazing how just one year can bring an innovative story. Southall has a very vast history, including the riots and all… but one the significant thing is how much it has grown over the years and how much history it has buried in it.

Good or Bad, Southall always brings memories to our minds.

-What year did you come to the UK?

< I arrived in the year 1999 in Heathrow Airport.

-Did you have a particular reason for your departure?

 < Of course, I had many. I wouldn’t leave my home, my family and talk refuge in a new country. Due to the war back home I was forced to leave. I couldn’t risk my children’s lives so I had to make a reasonable choice and move.

- So how did you end up in Southall?

< To be honest, there is no particular reason why I came to Southall. I think it’s just an easy place to settle down, with it being such a multi-cultured area I didn’t want to feel felt out.

- So how comes your still in Southall at the moment – since you’re settled in the UK- why are you still in Southall?

< Well, I guess I could say that Southall is like no place on earth. I think it’s just with everything being so open and the fact you can be yourself, made me stay. I also thought it will be good for the upcoming of my children.   


< = my mum

-  = maryam razhi

Were you born here?
Where were you born?
I was born in Afghanistan, Kabul.
Cool, why did you come to Southall then? and what year?
I came to Southall in 1999 because I had to leave back home and take refuge in this country because of war so I was forced to leave with my mum. 
Do you like Southall?
Yes I like Southall because it’s different, it’s unique.
Do you like the community?
I love the community because it’s so multicultural and I can be myself. I love the mates I’ve made here in Featherstone.
Why did your mum choose Southall?
No particular reason, it was just an easy place to settle down seeing as it was so multicultural. 
What do you really like about Southall?
I like the food because it’s very different, like the Indian food and sweets and stuff. We didn’t used to get this stuff in Afghanistan like the Jalebis, Ladoos.. yummy! :D
Thanks for the interview.
No worries.
How did you come to Southall?

My dad was living here first.

 What part of Southall do you live in?

Old Southall

When did you come to Southall?

When I was five.

What made you come to Southall?

My daddy was living here so I came.

Why was Southall so important to you?

Cause it is a multi cultural society.

  Where you born here? Yes.   Where does your family originate from? My mum comes from Kenya and my dad from India.   When did your family come here and why? My mum came here to start a new life and it seemed right because her sister was here.   Why did her sister come here? She heard that this area was slowly being populated by Indians.   When? 17 August 1988 - When my mum came.   Feelings about Southall in general? I like this place because its a very Multi-cultured society.   Best parts of Southall? The places of worship. The architecture.
What’s your dads name?

Tilak ram (‘raj’ tilak)

Why did he come to Southall?

He came to Southall because my granddad found a new job in England, which was paid at a very high salary; as a result of this my dad came to this country at the age of 6 years old, and his career ventured forthwith.

What did your dad do once he came to Southall?

My dad went to Featherstone High School, and he got very good results, he then went to do a degree in science engineering. He passed his degree and went to start working. However, he had another sincere talent, and that was singing. My dad created and established this group called the ‘Mela Group’ which was created in 1982. He sang for 15 years, and earned a lot of money and gave up in 1997.

What was his career?

He successfully had his degree in science engineering, and he had a singing career. 1982-1997. Photo is in the dominion centre.

What type of songs did your dad sing?