RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Visit  >  World ghettos. Bedford: English outback with Italian flavour

World ghettos. Bedford: English outback with Italian flavour

Today our story is about one of the most amazing combinations one can imagine, that is Italians and Englishmen, so we expand number of our articles dedicated to the ethnic ghettos of the world. Get ready to follow us to the cold and rainy Bedford, where we will plunge into the warm Mediterranean atmosphere.

Despite the large number of medieval castles, fortresses and other similar objects, until the 1960s and 1970s it was difficult to refer to Bedford as a popular place in terms of tourism, because it was a typical 100-thousandth town from the British outback. Bedford is a capital of Bedfordshire County which is famous for its picturesque River Great Ouse, several beer breweries and wool products. The British, recognized lovers of domestic tourism, or those who have already travelled abroad, from time to time came there, fleeing from noisy metropolises such as London or Glasgow; or resting from heavy industrial centres such as Liverpool or Manchester, breathing fresh air of quiet unspoilt countryside and enjoying its paced way of life. Nevertheless, today this pleasant riverside town is far from being boring and dull; it was transformed over a few years into a very popular place, in many respects, thanks to the local Italian community, inhabiting both its central areas and the outskirts.

Photo thebedfordclanger.com

At first glance, settlement of sun-loving Italians in a quite ordinary English town is surprising; the town is far from being cultural, financial or industrial hub. Still, usually people, especially natives from another country, migrate either to warm and beautiful destinations, or to places offering profitable business. However, if you dig deeper and penetrate even a little into the history of Europe after the Second World War, then everything becomes much more logical.

Photo static.wixstatic.com

The end of hostilities brought not only the long-awaited peace, but also devastation. Great Britain seriously affected by the bombing and having lost a lot of its male population in battles around the world, was in great need of labour migrants. Italy, was experiencing a serious economic crisis, so in the early 50s of the last century, the two governments found their win-win: an agreement was signed according to which 7,500 Italians went to Bedford to rebuild the county. Surprisingly, the hospitality and generosity of the local residents, together with well-paid work, led to the fact that emotional and hot-tempered Italians were able to get used to the prudish British and to the local weather, so most of them did not return home after expiry of the contract. Moreover, later the second group of immigrants arrived, together with the families of the first one, and after them there was the third migration wave. All this gave such a demographic result that today every third person in the town has Mediterranean roots.

For more than 60 years of living together, immigrants and indigenous people were not involved in any conflicts or strife: they treat each other with respect and tolerance. Maybe this is due to the fact that the Italian community earned its authority by honest work, and they really fell in love with the town and decorated it with their typical taste and refinement. They opened lovely family restaurants, having restored several architectural objects, and laid the foundation for the cultural prosperity of Bedford.

Photo s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Now tourists are beckoned by this amazing combination of two cultures, diametrically opposite to each other. An event called the Bedford River Festival is held on the River Great Ouse, the Italian festival, the festival of kites, the summer fair - these cheerful and colourful events are landmarks of the town. And if we also enrich named events with restored objects like the St. Paul's Church, the grand building of the Bedford Corn Exchange, the old mills, the Victorian parks and the Higgins Art Gallery & Museum boasting with unique watercolours and ceramics, we will get a lively destination with plenty of opportunities and a cultural tutti-frutti to unwind for a weekend, or even for a week off. Largely due to the Italian influence, the tourism has become the same important for the whole county as woollen industry and brewing.

Photo carminesnb.com

Informally, Bedford is considered the capital of all Italians in good old Blighty, until 2008, an Italian Vice-Consulate operated there, and several official institutions are functioning to this day. The tourists from the Apennines include this place into their compulsory travel program round the Foggy Albion, visiting it right after London. Therefore, in the summer months, the concentration of Italians here reaches almost half of the total population - they willingly refuse spaghetti and wine in favour of beer and British snacks and enjoy such an unusual combination of cultures, singing in the evenings Anglo-Italian hits and turning medieval streets in al-fresco concert venues. This interlacing has been repeatedly noted by UNESCO and the United Nations, which awarded the town and name it as an example for the whole world, everyone who loves England and Italy shall visit Bedford, as the both countries converge there.

Main photo experiencebedfordshire.co.uk

It will be interesting:
Foot walk around Aachen
To visit three countries over one day – it is possible if you are in Aachen. Situated amid Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, small student town took in features of medieval culture that reflected in its astonishing architecture. Yelena Buravtsova visited the town for it to win her heart with its off-beat monuments, streets paved with stone blocks, cozy cafés, one of a kind printed spice cake, museums and spectacular races.
British heartland: Albion's unsolved mysteries
Green slopes covered with heather moorland, deserted suburban roads, narrow streets with small cottages and gardens emitting heady fragrance - it seems that British villages are unchangeable through the passage of time. Like stilled scenery for heroic fantasy fiction, each of them has its own story about great battles, brave warriors and legendary artefacts.
Little pets of big cities
Germans have other pets besides German Shepherds and in Boston not just Boston Terriers can be seen. People choose dogs relying on own preferences. But sometimes locals are too prone to having a certain breed so it becomes a distinctive of a location. Natural conditions, fashion and even set of mind contribute to it.
A trip to Transylvania: Intriguing places of Romania
A visit to picturesque Transylvania is akin to mystic extravaganza that takes place in reality. But laymen rarely know for sure what to visit in Romania aside from the famous Bran Castle, residence of Count Dracula. OUTLOOK solves the problem and offers an opportunity to personally choose an exciting route – its history may not just surprise but also stir your blood.
Dallol: Bright glory of Ethiopia
Countries often flaunt their natural beauties: they invite tourists allowing them to examine closely every detail of jewellery coined by the nature. Among beauties, there are some that are the most extravagantly bright, showy and bizarre, and sometimes even wild for our eyes. African Ethiopia grabbed one of the most beautiful accessories - Dallol volcano.
Only sky is a limit: Worlds's highest observation decks
Nature bestowed our planet with many sky-high peaks, which at any moment give visitors the feeling of boundless freedom. Cities build skyscrapers boasting to one another and, to satisfy high aspirations, they add observation decks at the height of the bird's flight. Travelling from continent to continent, with bated breath we will admire the world's loftiest views from the summits of supertalls.
Postcards from Bulgaria
Having taken the passport and good mood, go on May holidays to the so-called "Near Abroad" - Bulgaria - the country where ancient architecture is successfully combined with a relaxing sea breeze. Do not you believe? But OUTLOOK is sure that Pavel Khomenskyi through his photos will be able to convince you! Bright and in its own way majestic Sofia - this is a must see on these holidays! Let's go with us!
Banned to leave handling kiwi. Customs bans on export
Tourists with their eyes full of tears because statuettes, shells and other stuff bought “as a souvenir” are being shaken out of their bags – is a continual occurrence at customs. For you not to become one of those tourists, OUTLOK suggests you check out a selection of (sometimes weird) objects forbidden to be exported from different countries.
Guinea Bissau: Expensive downshifting
People on holiday can be divided into two types: “tender creatures” and “adrenaline addicts”. Former ones will trade passive sunbathing and comfortable hotels for nothing. The letter ones prefer even cabins to annoying all inclusive and suites. “Cabins” are the conditions Guinea Bissau provides you with.
Sentosa – The whole Singapore in one island
To fully experience a country with the territory of over 700 square meters in merely a couple-of-days-long walking tour is very much possible. And no superpowers like teleportation or ability to move at light speed are needed for that. It is enough to head for Sentosa Island that pertains to the Republic of Singapore and completely reflects its specialties. And all that against no more than 100 dollars!
We were there: Sopot
European coast of the Baltic Sea can boast of neither warm waters nor lasting beach season – this however does not prevent it from being a popular resort area. Great number of cozy coastal towns attracts tourists first of all with fresh and curative air as well as with the opportunity to “heal the eyes” looking at the cold sea and amazing landscapes. Sopot – main Baltic resort of Poland – exhibits all of these advantages to the full.
Oman is a country with aroma of incense
This country became open for tourists only in late 1980s although its port cities were considered windows to the new world in past. It is now famous as a producer of most expensive perfumes, world supplier of incense and a keeper of copper pits that used to be a source of the metal for ancient civilizations!
Postcards from Batumi
Young Ukrainian writer Pavel Khomenskyi visited Batumi, the city smothered in greenery and shining bright, the one that local citizens call the city of love. Palm trees, cypresses, magnolias, oleanders, bamboos, laurels, orange trees, thujas and box trees exhale fragrances on every step there; they tempt you to go watch a romantic picture of ships sailing off harbors. And today the author shares with you his postcards from this amazing city, penetrated with murmur of the sea and taste of fragrant wine.
On the Road – Own Way
OUTLOOK cannot imagine life without travelling. However, tickets, schedules, tardiness – all those things can spoil any trip. Therefore it is great to have either at home or in you garage a kind of transport that can allow you to see and to experience something new and forget all the problems.
"All inclusive" and even more: amazing hotel service
Hotels that offer “all inclusive” for dogs. Hotels where adults are being lulled asleep by a fairytale or a unique place where work isn’t held in honor while laziness is encouraged. This is not a dream or a parallel reality – these are stalky hotel services…
World transport: Vertical Lisbon
Lisbon is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in Europe, however, its territory is difficult for living and building due to its steep hilly terrain. Portuguese metropolis is situated on seven densely populated hills. That's why its hallmark is three funicular railroads and the elevator, without which tourists and residents would be much in trouble moving around the city.
History of the street: Bagdad Avenue in Istanbul
If all the magnificent Istanbul is considered as the heart of regional trade, one of its most luxurious streets, Bagdad Avenue, is, certainly, the main artery. Having appeared there, even rejecting shopping with the whole heart, one feels hardship while trying to keep him balanced and not succumb to temptation to go to the ships and markets. Even though, apart from that, there is something to do here.
Around the world. Top of the most unusual world travel
Traveling has long ago become a part of human life. There have always been bravehearts and madmen who headed off up hill and down dale, took risks and eventually discovered new lands. Today, when the world map has a very accurate outline, we offer you a couple of stories about trips around the world that contributed to its creation.
Rainbow-colored Flower
Everybody remembers a child’s fairy tale about the magical rainbow-colored flower that could make wishes come true. But some of us don’t know that it actually exists. Not so much in the shape of a flower but more like in granular state. We mean the sand that one of the villages on Mauritius, called Shamarel, is covered with.
South Goa with the eyes of Kira Kondratenko
Depression and lack of new ideas? Head to Goa! It was the rest in Goa that helped business lady Kira Kondratenko build up energy and ideas for the implementation of an interesting project once. Today she shares with us her impressions of the island while calling it nothing short of Heaven on Earth.
Close
Outlook facebook page