Birth of Burnley’s Asian community

EXPLORING: Mrs Malik and her family in Trafalga Square. (S)
EXPLORING: Mrs Malik and her family in Trafalga Square. (S)

Don’t miss Tuesday’s Express for the first in a fascinating series of articles on the origins or Burnley’s Asian community.

In tomorrow’s newspaper, Nasreen Malik, Burnley’s first Asian Mayoress, tells her story alongside those of immigrants coming to work in the area’s cotton industry and of the community’s strong family ties.

CHARITABLE: Mrs Malik presents a cheque to the Mayor, Mrs Irene Cooney. (S)

CHARITABLE: Mrs Malik presents a cheque to the Mayor, Mrs Irene Cooney. (S)

Mrs Mailk’s story is one of many featured in the book “Our Work, Our Lives, Our Town: Burnley People, Pakistani Roots”, published by Jinnah with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

She tells how she arrived in Burnley in 1965 as one of the first Pakistani families and started work in a factory before becoming an assistant teacher in Barden Infants’ School, as well as her many volunterring roles and that of a magistrate.

“I learnt English in Pakistan but when I came here it took nearly three months before I could speak English properly,” she says. “I didn’t go to any college or get tutoring, but I learnt it from television! I was watching and listening and didn’t know what they were saying really. Then all of a sudden I realised I could understand them.”

She adds: “I call Burnley home, but I can’t live without Pakistan. I go there every year, and I stay about four to eight weeks, but then I come back home. I was only a teenage girl when I came here, and I’ve lived all my life here. You love your country, a native land where you were born, where your roots are. But Britain is my country now, and Burnley is my home.”