Multicultural Britain

A People’s History

August 2024 9781911723516 416pp, 33 colour illus
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


Between the end of the Second World War and the early twenty-first century, Britain became multicultural. This vivid book tells that remarkable story. Kieran Connell, an historian of Irish and German heritage who grew up in Balsall Heath, inner-city Birmingham, takes readers into multicultural communities across Britain at key moments in their development.

Journeying far beyond London, Multicultural Britain explores the messy contradictions of the country’s transition into today’s diverse society. It reveals the ordinary people who have forged Britain’s multiculturalism; skewers public leaders, from Enoch Powell to Harold Wilson to Margaret Thatcher, who have too often weaponised race for their own political ends; and shines a light on the shifting nature of British racism, revealing its enduring day-to-day impact on ethnic-minority groups.

Between postcolonial reckonings and immigration anxieties, how people live together in Brexit Britain remains an urgent question for our time. Connell’s fresh, thought-provoking book unveils British multiculturalism not as a problematic idea, but as a rich and complex lived reality.


‘Kieran Connell’s vividly compelling book makes an epic subject feel immediate and intimate. Written with verve and passion, it yet casts a cold eye on the large historical forces that are in play. Multicultural Britain: A People’s History honours the lives it restores to their proper place in the making of contemporary Britain.’ — Fintan O’Toole, author of We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History Of Ireland Since 1958

‘This book comes at a crucial moment in Britain’s history. It redefines not only our past, but assembles the ingredients to construct a possible future from the country’s maligned and often misunderstood multicultural reality.’ — Johny Pitts, author of Afropean: Notes from Black Europe

‘Goes behind the net curtains to give a searing view of the lives and struggles of black and Asian immigrants that laid the foundation of present-day British society. From post-war racism to the rhetoric of Nigel Farage, this is a canvas of British history shaped by Empire. The personal and political blend seamlessly. Essential reading.’ — Shrabani Basu, author of Victoria & Abdul

‘An insightful, captivating and engaging book. By focussing on specific cities, from Bradford to Nottingham, Kieran Connell has written a truly innovative history of multiculturalism.’ — Ziauddin Sardar, author of Balti Britain

Multicultural Britain is a powerful, compelling, forthright, grounded, and inspiring analysis of how diverse peoples and groups have arrived, settled, adapted, and fundamentally transformed what it means to be British today.’ — Professor Tahir Abbas, Leiden University, author of Muslim Britain: Communities under Pressure



Kieran Connell is a writer and historian based at Queen’s University Belfast. His first book, Black Handsworth: Race in 1980s Britain, was shortlisted for the Whitfield Book Prize.

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