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Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:46 UK
Why have so many nationalities moved to Slough?
Slough was home to the world's first trading estate

Slough has been an industrial powerhouse since the 1920s and it has been home to large numbers of immigrants since the 1940s.

Since Polish airmen set up their homes in Slough following World War I, people from as far afield as the Caribbean, India and Somalia have moved there.

Slough's industrial life began in 1918 when it was used to store vehicles in World War I.

Huge numbers of motor vehicles coming back from Flanders were repaired.


In April 1920 the Government sold the site and its contents to the Slough Trading Co. Ltd.

Slough statistics
Slough is the most ethnically diverse local authority outside London.
Eighteen schools in Slough have half of all their pupils with English as a second language
Slough has the highest percentage of Sikh residents in the country,
Slough also has the highest percentage of Muslim residents (13.4%) and Hindu residents (4.5%) in the South East region.

The Slough Trading Estate was born: a sprawling complex of nearly 500 acres. a short distance from the town centre.

It was the first - and is still the biggest - business park in Europe.

The estate soon attracted businesses: by the 1920s it was the UK headquarters of Citroën.

The town became a magnet for those seeking jobs.

Second World War

After the Second World War, as Slough's economy returned to civilian production, its growth resumed - and with it, migration.

New openings required new workers and in the late 1940s hundreds were filled by Poles who had fought in the British armed forces.

One reason for the scale of Polish migration since 2004 is the extent of the roots Poles put down then: by the end of the Forties, there were a thriving Polish church and a school.


But by the mid-1950s the local press began to voice employers' fears that there were not enough people to fill the ever-increasing number of vacancies.

Jobs were filled by the 'New Commonwealth' countries of the Indian subcontinent and the West Indies.

One of those in the first wave of Commonwealth migrants to move to Slough was Lydia Simmons, originally from Montserrat, who years later would serve as mayor.


In 1964 an American sociologist named William Israel published 'Colour and Community', then a unique study of migration and its impact in a single British town. Between 1921 and 1961, Israel discovered, Slough's population had risen from 20,285 to 80,781, of whom about 4,500 were immigrants.

Slough's migrant population continued to grow. By 1968, the year of Enoch Powell's 'rivers of blood' speech, there were 13,000 people who had moved to Slough from the Commonwealth.

The present day

Slough is now headquarters of the mobile communications giant O2, Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry, Celltech, the UK's biggest biotechnology firm, Lonza, the biopharmaceutical company, and LG, the mobile phone handset makers.

It is also home to the UK bases of Fiat, Harley-Davidson and Ferrari-Maserati and Mars.

According to the Census 2001 the population of Slough is currently recorded as 119,067.

However, Slough's response rate (85%) to the Census was almost 10% below the national average (94%).

The council thinks that this means there are thousands of 'missing' residents who are not recorded on the census. Funding for councils, health services and policing is based on population, so there are fears that Slough may be missing out on funding.

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