A shocking documentary has revealed how white Londoners are leaving the Cockney East End borough in huge numbers after thousands of mainly Muslim immigrants moved in. People who haven’t been there for many years come out of Upton Park Station and say: ‘I can’t believe what’s happened here, it could be downtown Baghdad.’
UK Express More than half of the white population have abandoned Newham in the last 15 years, while a staggering 70,000 Muslim migrants moved in during the same period. A jaw-dropping 73 per cent of the local population is now made up of ethnic minorities and Black British, according to the BBC documentary Last Whites of the East End.
Once known for being a white working class area, Newham now boasts the lowest percentage of white British residents of anywhere in London and is the most multicultural borough in the UK. Newham has 66 primary schools and two decades ago more than half of the pupils were white British.
But now one school, Drew Primary, has just three white British children per class, with 43 languages spoken throughout its corridors.
Meanwhile, Cockneys, who moved in during the 1880s as dockworkers from the east of the City, are resettling in places like Essex.
Leanne Oakham, is a sixth generation Cockney who lives on he same street in Newham as her mother Debbie and sister Amy. However the young mother is planning to move to Rayleigh in Essex and expects her mother to follow.
Leanne Oakham with her mother Debbie
She told filmmakers: “It’s not like the old East End where everyone knew everyone and we all left our doors open. “It’s just scary now. Years ago people would have a fight with their fists and that would be it. “Not anymore. Now people will bring in knives.”
Ms Oakham added:“If I move then my mum will follow, and if my mum moves my nan will follow. “That will be another local family up and gone in Essex.
Meanwhile, Peter Bell has been a secretary at East Ham Working Men’s Club for more than 25 years. He says it was one of the last strongholds of traditional East End culture in the area. The club hosts pensioners’ tea dancing, boxing, drinking and watching football.
Mr Bell, 66, says he fears the club will be forced to close its doors when the team move from Upton Park to Stratford’s Olympic stadium. He said: “’I’ve been here 25 years. I love everything about this club, everyone is a character in here.” But he tells fimmakers the area has changed beyond recognition.
One punter says: “The biggest change I think is the pubs shutting, there are so many pubs closing down. “Muslims don’t drink, so that’s another major change.” Another added: “It’s hard to find somebody who speaks English in Newham.
“We’ve always been a country where immigration plays a part, but not on the scale you find now. “You go from Aldgate to Barking and there is very few English people left.”
Tony Cunningham, the son of a Jamaican immigrant and mother from London, whose family have lived in the capital for more than 150 years, said he considers himself a cockney. The bus driver revealed how he now feels like an outsider in his own community.
He added: “I feel alone. Most of the Muslims stick together, their children stick together. If you are an outsider, they don’t want no part of you whatsoever.”
Last Whites Of The East End airs on BBC1 at 10.45pm May 24th.