Gasperetti, Flavia (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
In the decade following the end of the Second World War, a mass migration of Italian workers came to the United Kingdom to be employed in Britain’s factories and mines.
Amongst these, many were women.
Thanks to official recruitment schemes drafted by the British and Italian governments of the time, young women left Italy in their thousands, to be employed as domestic workers or in factories, especially in the textile districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Here, they joined other migrants recruited through the European Volunteer Workers scheme, a government-led operation aimed at sourcing manpower from mainland Europe. The Official Italian Scheme was one of such recruitments, but one of the least investigated.
The present research begins by studying the process of recruitment of young Italian women, within the wider context of Italy’s post-war emigration policies and its diplomatic relations with Great Britain.
Subsequently, the research focuses on the entry of Italian women in the textile districts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire and the process of their integration within British society.
Finally, the thesis examines the attitudes of Catholic missionaries in Britain, the Italian expatriate community, the implications arising from mixed marriages and the formation of new multicultural families.
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