Geographical distribution – the pattern of settlement of Ukrainians in different parts of the United Kingdom from the early twentieth century to the present.
In the first half of the twentieth century most Ukrainians in the UK lived either in Manchester or in London. In Manchester there was a group of Ukrainians, mainly from Galicia, who came to the area as economic migrants in the years leading up to the First World War. The Ukrainians in London were mainly diplomatic representatives of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic, other individuals involved in lobbying for Ukrainian political interests, scholars and students (see Ukrainians in the UK).
The Ukrainians in the Polish Armed Forces under British command who came to the UK during the Second World War (appoximately 1,000) lived in military camps mainly in Scotland. The Ukrainians who arrived in the second half of 1946 with the Polish II Corps (3,000-5,000) were accommodated throughout the UK in unoccupied military camps, in which they remained until they were able to find employment and private accommodation. The 8,500 Ukrainian former soldiers of the Galicia Division transferred from Italy in 1947 were placed in prisoner-of-war (POW) camps in various parts of the UK, mainly in the agricultural areas of eastern England and southern Scotland. Almost all of the 21,000 Ukrainian European Voluntary Workers (EVWs) and their 860 dependants brought to the UK in 1947-1950 from continental Europe were accommodated in several hundred hostels throughout the Kingdom. In camps and hostels in rural areas, as well as in towns and cities, Ukrainians began to organise themselves into communities and formed branches of various organisations. At the end of the 1940s there were approximately 350 organised communities.
The EVWs (who, from 1948, included also the former Galicia Division personnel) could not, initially, change their place of work without the approval of the local office of the Ministry of Labour. From 1951 this restriction was progressively lifted, giving the workers greater flexibility in choosing where to live. Most of those Ukrainians who were initially placed in agricultural areas migrated to industrial towns and cities. This led to a greater concentration of Ukrainians in larger communities and the disappearance of many smaller ones. The number of communities fell to about 100 by the late 1950s, and continued to decline in later years. Some Ukrainians remained in locations where there was no organised community, but there is no information on the number of such individuals.
After leaving the camps and hostels, the vast majority of Ukrainians in the UK settled in England. Data on their distribution between regions is not available, but approximate estimates can be made on the basis of proportions of members of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) belonging to branches of the organisation in different regions in the late 1970s. Around 45% of the Ukrainians in England settled in the north of the country, particularly in Lancashire and Yorkshire, where there were wide opportunities for employment in the cotton and wool textile industries. To the west of the Pennines, most Ukrainians settled in Manchester and other nearby locations, while to the east the largest concentrations were in Bradford and other towns and cities of West Yorkshire. Some 30% of Ukrainians in England settled in the Midlands, where the largest community was in Nottingham. In 1964 the Ukrainian Youth Association in Great Britain purchased a camp site (Tarasivka) not far from the Midlands town of Derby, and this became the location of annual summer youth camps and other events attracting Ukrainians from around the UK. From 1971 to 1998 the AUGB also operated a residential home (Kobzarivka) adjacent to the Tarasivka site. About 25% of the Ukrainians in England lived in various parts of the South and East. The largest community in this part of the country was in London, which also became the central location of many community organisations. Between 1949 and 2013 the AUGB ran a residential home (Sydenhurst) in the village of Chiddingfold in Surrey, south-west of London.
The number of Ukrainians in the non-English countries of the UK from the 1950s onwards was quite small. Most of those living in Scotland in the 1940s migrated to England, with probably less than 1,000 remaining in Scotland. Organised communities were established in Edinburgh and a small number of other locations in the southern half of the country. Several hundred Ukrainians settled in Wales, mainly in the south. Organised communities were established in Cardiff and Swansea, and in 1965 the Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organisation in Great Britain acquired a camp site (Verkhovyna) near Colwyn Bay in North Wales. Only an insignificant number of post-war Ukrainian immigrants settled in Northern Ireland.
Although about 8,000-10,000 of the post-war Ukrainian immigrants migrated onwards from the UK to other countries, mainly in the first half of the 1950s, there is no indication that this substantially changed the distribution of the remaining 22,000-27,000 Ukrainians between different parts of the UK. In subsequent decades most of the latter continued to live in the same areas in which they originally settled.
The number of locations in the UK in which organised Ukrainian communities continued to exist from the 1950s into at least the 1970s was approximately 90. They are listed in the table below, separately for each part of the UK. The table also identifies those communities (generally larger ones) which acquired their own buildings: branch centres of the AUGB and, to a lesser extent, the Federation of Ukrainians in Great Britain or other organisations; as well as, in some towns and cities, parish churches of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Great Britain and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Great Britain.
Geographical distribution of Ukrainian communities in the UK in the 1950s-1970s
|Region/country||Communities with buildings||Smaller communities|
|North East England||Newcastle-upon-Tyne|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||Bradford, Dinnington, Doncaster, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley, Leeds, Scunthorpe, Todmorden||Dewsbury, Grimsby, Hull, Selby, Sheffield, Wakefield|
|North West England||Ashton-under-Lyne, Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Carlisle, Leigh, Manchester, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Stockport||Crewe, Liverpool, Middleton|
|East Midlands||Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Mansfield, Northampton, Nottingham||Chesterfield, Corby, Glossop. Kettering, Loughborough, Rushden, Spalding, Wellingborough|
|West Midlands||Cannock Chase, Coventry, Kidderminster, Rugby, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton||Birmingham, Burton-on-Trent, Donnington, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, West Bromwich, Worcester|
|East of England||Bedford, Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough, Waltham Cross||Cambridge, Colchester, Dunstable, Felixstowe, Leighton Buzzard, Letchworth, Thetford|
|London Region||Enfield, London|
|South East England||Chiddingfold, Reading, Slough||Aylesbury, Bicester, Gillingham, High Wycombe, Oxford|
|South West England||Cheltenham, Gloucester||Bristol, Exeter, Swindon|
|Scotland||Dundee, Edinburgh, Galashiels||Annan, Falkirk, Glasgow, Lockerbie|
While most first-generation descendants of the post-war immigrants remained in the same areas as their parents, some re-located to other UK towns and cities or emigrated to other countries. This process continued in subsequent generations, although the geographical distribution of Ukrainians within the UK did not change significantly before the 1990s.
The majority of the Ukrainians from independent Ukraine who have arrived in the UK since 1991 have settled, or stayed temporarily, in London or South-East England. Others live, or have lived, in other parts of England, including in Manchester, Bradford and Nottingham, as well as in the other constituent countries of the UK. At the time of the March 2011 UK population census, of nearly 22,000 individuals who gave Ukraine as their country of birth, 93.3% were present in England, 3.9% in Scotland, 1.7% in Wales and 1.1% in Northern Ireland. Of those in England, 43% were in London and 14% in the South East. According to unofficial estimates, however, in 2007 about 70% of the Ukrainians in the UK lived in London (many Ukrainians among the UK’s undocumented immigrant population may not have taken part in the 2011 census). The heavy concentration of the post-1991 Ukrainian immigrants in and around London, coupled with the natural decline in the number of remaining post-war immigrants and the mobility of their descendants, has resulted in a substantially different geographic distribution of Ukrainians in the UK from that of the 1950s-1980s, particularly within England.