This on-going series of portraits of multicultural shop workers is a social record and a testimony of the importance of the U.K.’s immigrant populations influence on it’s culture and the economy.
The multicultural corner shop has been a common sight since the 1950s when immigrants came to Britain in large numbers due to political and economic upheaval in their own countries. The corner shop was where the majority of white British people first interacted with Asians, Sikhs and Jamaicans.
In recent years it has seen a decline, in part, due to the fact that the children of shop owners do not want to continue in the family business. This combined with the growth of local stores, owned by large companies, such as Sainsburys and Tesco, has seen the need for the corner shop diminish and other forms of local shops and businesses to increase.
This shift is a throwback to the beginnings of the multicultural corner shop in the 1950’s and 60’s. New immigrants are setting up businesses to gain a foothold in Britain, as did the immigrants from the 50’s and 60’s, building businesses that will eventually help them to be accepted as part of the community and in turn to develop the local and national economy.