The Boys' Brigade

The Boys' Brigade

What Have the Germans Ever Done for Us?

A History of the German Population of Great Britain

Publication Date15th August 2017

Book FormatPaperback





Susan Duxbury-Neumann explores the fascinating story of Britain's German population before the First World War.
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By the second half of the nineteenth century, Germans had formed the largest immigrant group in England and Wales after the Irish, peaking at over 60,000.

The German immigrants pursued many trades in Britain. It has been recently discovered that German pork butchers, a result of chain migration of Swabian peasant farmers and pig-breeders, opened butcher’s shops in most towns and cities in Great Britain, providing factory workers with cheap and tasty 'take-away' meals. The sugar industry was mostly in German hands until the mid-nineteenth century. Although the work was difficult and dangerous, sugar-baking was a major employer and exploiter of lower-class Germans, but almost extinct by the end of the century. Other main occupations were waiters (later restaurant owners), merchants, office clerks, watch makers and musicians. Female migrants found employment in German-owned businesses or came to be married or work as 'nannies' and teachers. German customs, guilds and cultural societies were founded according to class and religion.

With the outbreak of the First World War, a paranoid hatred of everything German resulted in internment and deportation and a complete wipe-out of the German population in Great Britain. This book tells the intriguing story of German migration to Great Britain, and explores what happened to the migrants in that tense early twentieth-century atmosphere.
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