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From Italy to England

The Italian immigrants who settled in Manchester's Ancoats area came fron most regions of Italy. However the majority came from towns and villages which at the time were in the province of Caserta, Campania. After a boundary change early last century many of these towns became part of the province of Frosinone, Lazio. Originally the early immigrants who came from Campania and Lazio to Ancoats were known as 'Neapolitans' (Naples being in Campania). Those from Frosinone (located south of Rome and north of Naples) were known as 'Ciociaria'.

My great grandparents, Carlo and Caralina Tiani (nee Fusco) settled in Manchester at the end of the 1870s from the village of Settefratti, Frosinone. This is a surviving part of their Italian passport from 1889.

Manchester, in the early 19th century was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and attractive to emigrants. Italians who came often stayed temporarily for seasonal work. Those who stayed longer would send for family members if they started their own businesses, leading to 'chain migration'.

There is a popular myth that all Italians who emigrated from Italy were ice-cream makers. Not so. The majority were 'contadini', or farming people, along with barometer makers, figurine makers, musicians, craftsmen of marble and mosaics, and other artisans. None originally made ice cream in Italy.

Just as Italy itself was split before 1860, strong regional differences persisted in the immigrant community. Northern Italians would look down on those from the South (the idea of a North / South divide is far greater in Italy even today than in Britain). Regional cliques formed in Ancoats, often with intense rivalry. It wasn't until the integration of opposing families inter-marrying that these animosities declined.

The first generation were also not happy at the thought of their children marrying into the local English and Irish communities. As with all immigrants, there is a fear of losing one's cultural identity.





regional links:

Frosinone region

Benvenuti Ciociaria

Welcome to Campania

Regione Campania (Italian)

Visit Manchester

North West England

North West Tourist Board

All text and images (unless marked *) Anthony Rea 2010
not to be used without permission. All rights reserved