Vestry House

We Weren’t Expecting To Stay and Other Stories

Vestry House

One thing that makes Walthamstow so unique is the diversity of the area. Everywhere you look, different cultures are blending in with the leafy, suburban landscape and recently the spotlight has been placed on the Muslim community within Waltham Forest.

Born out of the realisation that the Muslim community in the UK is under represented in history books, ‘We Weren’t Expecting To Stay and Other Stories’ brings together photos and interviews from families who migrated to Britain from South Asia during the 50s.

Situated at Vestry House, the local history museum, the exhibition, curated by Sadiya Ahmed from the Khizra Foundation aims to showcase how the British Muslim communities were established and how they have evolved over time.

Information has been collected from mosques, local businesses and Islamic centres across London and presented in a timeline format for all to see. One of the key features of this exhibition is the giant map of Walthamstow which covers the wall as visitors enter the room. On this map, certain roads are pin pointed to allow visitors a geographical viewpoint of the migration patterns, offering historic snapshots of residents recalling events or places from the arrival of Muslims in the neighbourhood. Further into the exhibition, original artefacts are displayed in glass cabinets and photographs of the courageous people who made the long journey over to Britain line the walls.

This beautiful exhibition, delicately shows the struggles and hardships experienced by the Muslim community within the UK. However, the end result is something more uplifting. Visitors are left with a feeling of solidarity and a strong sense of pride for the community we have today. However this exhibition expertly shows that this sense of kinship is not without its struggle.

The exhibition will run from the 14th March – 17th May 2015 at Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, E17 9NH

To learn more about the Everyday Muslim story, click here

To discover what’s on at Vestry House, click here

Photos: Amena Amer and Mariyum Mughal

Words: Grace Molan