Working hard for Wolverhampton South East Representing the residents of Bilston East, Bilston North, Blakenhall, Coseley East, East Park, Ettingshall, Spring Vale

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Pat McFadden MP today celebrated ‘The Birmingham and the Black Country Sikh Migration story’ at the exhibition’s current home at the University of Wolverhampton.

The touring exhibition, which was first launched at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in July this year, will also visit four other locations, including the Nishkam Centre, Dudley Library and Sandwell Community History and Archives.

The project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, details the journeys and contributions made by the Sikh community in Birmingham and the Black Country. It includes more than 30 video interviews conducted with migrants spanning several generations, an educational toolkit for schools, a comprehensive website and legacy-resource that will be deposited in the Library of Birmingham and Sandwell Archives.

Pat commented “This is a really interesting and informative exhibition. It tells the story of Sikh migration to the Black Country over several generations and the huge progress the Sikh community has made over that time. It also sets out the key values of Sikhi and I would encourage anyone who has the time to see the exhibition while they can.”

Jasbir Uppal, Lecturer and Head of Recruitment and Marketing at the University of Wolverhampton, as well as a Project Steering Group member, commented that “there is a rich Sikh heritage in Wolverhampton, and the exhibition tells a story of their extraordinary journey and the importance of recording the strife, struggles, and their successes.”

Munpreet Kaur, Project Coordinator, spoke about the project’s goals, and the urgency of capturing these stories: “Because of the time limit, it is important that we capture first-hand accounts from Sikhs. There is still so much to do, and we request more volunteers to be part of this effort – record your family story, help us find the patterns and the big picture. Help us hold on to the teachings of our elders, like Mr Sewa Singh Mandla [the project’s oldest participant (Mandla v Lee Case) who recently passed away] before they are lost to us forever. I think it’s our duty to connect with our roots and not to forget where we are today is a testament to their work, their sacrifice and their love for us”.

Surjeet Singh Sandhu, a participant who recorded an oral history interview for the project, told his story about his childhood in Punjab in the mid-1960s. Now a senior design engineer, he spoke of his amazement at being from ‘a poor family, unknown village’ with no shoes until the age of 12 years old, but yet after arriving in the UK managed to give back substantially to the community in his adult life.

The exhibition will move to the Nishkam Centre in Handsworth, Birmingham, in December 2017.

 

Pat McFadden MP celebrates The Birmingham and Black Country Sikh Migration story

Pat McFadden MP today celebrated ‘The Birmingham and the Black Country Sikh Migration story’ at the exhibition’s current home at the University of Wolverhampton.

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Making things is in the blood of the Black Country.

I regularly make visits to local workplaces and love to hear the stories of what is made here. Of course, many of the big names that resonated through the Black Country’s manufacturing history are long gone, but it would be a huge mistake to think we don’t make anything anymore. One example is the lock gates for our canal network. There are two workshops making these in the UK and one is located in Bradley in my constituency. There, a team of skilled craftsmen make huge gates for our canal network, hewn from the finest English Oak (some of which it was explained to me actually comes from Scotland!). Each set of gates is bespoke, made to precise measurements for one location only. The wood is treated with water to keep it in just the right condition for the job. The finished products can weigh about 5 tonnes each and they are shipped from Bradley around the country. It is all part of the work done by the Canal and River Trust which looks after our inland waterways. In many ways our canal network is an underused asset.  I would love to see us making more of it. But certainly the work done in the Bradley workshop is a vital part of keeping our canal network up to scratch. And the next time you see a set of lock gates, remember there is affair chance they were made in Bradley.

Pat McFadden visits the Canal & River Trust Bradley Workshop

  Making things is in the blood of the Black Country.

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Since the Bilston Road metro works started in June, I have supported the Bilston Road traders amid their plummeting drop in trade which has seen some businesses forced to close down.

Since, I have; met with Midland Metro Alliance boss Alejandro Moreno, wrote to the City of Wolverhampton Council, wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport and appealed continuously for compensation for the businesses affected to West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

So, you can imagine that the news of the return to two-way traffic on A41 Bilston Road is welcomed. But we shouldn’t forget that traders along the road have gone through a very tough time in recent months and some have not even survived to see the end of these works. The issue of compensation has not gone away and I would still appeal to the West Midlands Mayor and the combined authority to recognise the pain these businesses have been through.

Pat McFadden MP welcomes the news of the return to two-way traffic on A41 Bilston Road

  Since the Bilston Road metro works started in June, I have supported the Bilston Road traders amid their plummeting drop in trade which has seen some businesses forced to...


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