Introduction

Welcome to Minding Histories, an oral history project that explores the relationship between migration, mental health and wellbeing, in the London Borough of Bexley, from the 1950’s to the present day.

This project was initiated in 2008 at the mental health charity, Mind in Bexley. Through our work with local Vietnamese and Chinese communities, we became aware of the many difficulties faced by those who had migrated to the UK. These included isolation, unemployment, poverty and prejudice, experiences that can affect mental health.

We became interested in the individual stories of people who had settled in Bexley. We wanted to find out more about how they had adapted to a new country and culture, what obstacles there had been and how they had overcome these. Above all, we wanted to better understand what impact migration and re-settlement had on a person’s mental well-being. Minding Histories received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which formally began in April 2009.

This work was undertaken by a team of volunteers. We provided them with training in oral history research methods and interview skills. Through our partnerships with local community groups and networks we recorded and archived oral history interviews with 60 individuals including those from the Albanian, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Chinese, Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Indian, Jamaican, Irish, Nigerian, Sri Lankan, Trinidadian and Vietnamese communities resident in Bexley.

The interviews and transcripts are archived at the Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre.