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TIME-LINE | The Southall Story


This Time Line has been created by The Southall Story team and will continue to expand, including subjects such as Coach Stations, Factories and other landmarks. If you have any suggestions or feel that we have left a vital piece of information out, then please do contact us.

Chronology of significant events in Southall since the 1930’s


The 20’s and 30’s sees a large influx of Welsh immigrants coming to Southall, escaping poverty.

The Dominion Cinema opens as a ‘state of the art cinema’ on 14th October 1935 with John Beal in “Laddie” and Elizabeth Bergner in “Escape Me Never”. Read more…

Southall becomes a municipal borough, with a mayor and a charter

Although Indians were travelling to the UK throughout the 19th and early 20th century, Southall saw an unprecedented rise of settlers from the Punjab after the Second World War to fulfil the industrial growth. Many were to find work in light industries in Southall and at the new development of Heathrow airport. Read more…

The Empire Windrush docks at Tilbury with over 400 people from the Caribbean. Many were to settle in Southall. Read more…

IWA (Indian Workers Association) Southall is set up. Read more on Connecting History and Wikipedia

Southall Studios (home to film making in West London) closes. Read more…

The ‘The Boyle Law’ came into force after white parents in Southall complained of the changing nature of education due to the high percentage of Asian students. Legislations stated that no more than 30% of pupils should of Asian or Black descent. ‘Bussing’ is introduced to take children out of the area. Read more….

Chaudhry’s TKC formerly known as Tandoori Kebab Centre was established in 1965 Read more…

A seven week strike at Woolf’s Rubber factory saw union recognition for Asians in Southall improving working conditions and workers rights. ‘“The Woolf rubber factory was the first one to employ non-whites because the recruiting officer was a military man who had been deployed in India. It was very difficult work and way below my qualifications, but I had no choice. I earned one shilling an hour and had to survive on £4 a week.’ Ajit Singh Rai, a founding member of the IWAS and a worker at Woolf’s Rubber Factory speaking to the Asian Times online. Read more…

Mangla Dam is built in Pakistan in the district of Azad Kashmir, displacing thousands of villages. Large exoduses of mainly people from the Mir Pur area settle in Britain with a small percentage in Southall. Read more…

A gang of fascist skinheads rampage through the streets of Southall

Misty in Roots, England’s finest reggae band is formed and based in Southall. Read more…

National Association of Indian Youth is set up to bring together Asian youth organisations in the UK and is based in Southall High Street. In 1977, the organisation changes its name to National Association of Asian Youth.

With the expulsion of Ugandan Asians, Southall experiences a large influx of East African Asians. Read more…

The practice of “bussing” of immigrant (largely Asian) children to schools outside of Southall is stopped.

Gurdip Singh Chagger, a teenager is murdered by racists. Asian youth begin to organize against fascist action. Read more…

The Southall Youth Movement is formed. Read more…

Southall based singer Mohinder Kaur Bhamra, having conducted and performed at many weddings produced an LP called ‘Punjabi Geet’. This was the first time that a female punjabi singer had released an album as the main artist with a featured male co-star singing duets (the well known K Deep) – usually, it was female singers who performed alongside the main male singers.

The National Front hold a meeting at Southall Town Hall and the local community gather to protest against their presence. A bloody uprising ensues, where Blair Peach, a teacher is killed. Read more…

Clarence Baker from Peoples Unite (and Misty in Roots) is severely injured in the uprising. Read more…

The Southall Monitoring Group, an anti-racist organisation is set up to monitor racist attacks and police activity. The Southall Monitoring Group later changes its name to The Monitoring Group. Read more…

Southall Black Sisters responds to the uprising recognising a need to address the needs of Black and Asian women, focusing on domestic and sexual violence. Read more…

The Ruts, a Southall based punk band release their album ‘The Crack’ featuring ‘Babylon Is Burning’. Read more…

Mohinder Kaur Bhamra becomes the first female UK artist to sign a deal with EMI The Gramophone Company of India. Her album ‘Baharan Khir Payian’, featuring her sons Kuljit (tabla) and Satpal (mandolin) releases in 1981 and featured the hit song ‘Bhabi Meri Hoor Wargi’. Whilst recording the album in India, the musical director invites Kuljit to play tabla in another album featuring a new young singer Hans Raj Hans. The album Jogian De Kanna Wich becomes a worldwide hit.

Graeme Tolit, Alan Heaton & David Knowles arrive in Southall from Liverpool to set up a music rehearsal complex on the Abbots Estate and Insulation/Diesel plant adjacent to Southall Football Ground. The eight rehearsal rooms were named Westar and became the central hub of musical activity for many bands including Misty n Roots, Iron Maiden, The Dhol Foundation and many bhangra bands.

The band, 4 Skins, play at the Hambrough Tavern that is later burnt down after Skinheads attacked elderly Asians in the street. Read more…

Southall-based band Alaap release their first album ‘teri Chunni De Sitare’ in January and later that year in September, the album ‘Dance With Alaap’ containing the hit song ‘Bhabiye Ni Bhabiye’.

Sunrise Radio (formerly the pirate station Sinha Radio) is granted a licence to broadcast.

Southall band Premi Group approach singer Mohinder Kaur Bhamra to request that her three sons produce an album. Kuljit Bhamra composed the music and the album was recorded and complete within a three day session. Johal Premi was so thrilled by the production that he took a cassette recording fresh out of the studio to his colleague

Kumar to play it to him. Kumar was in the process of setting up a band called Heera, and went to meet Kuljit Bhamra the following day to request that he produce their album. The two albums were released almost simultaneously – Premi’s ‘Chhammak Jehi Mutiar Da’ and Heera’s ‘Jag Wala Mela’ and were played back to back almost 24 hours a day on the new Sunrise Radio.

Southall Black Sisters organises the first Black and Asian women’s demonstration through Southall to protest against domestic violence.

Southall Asian and African Arts Collective (SAAAC) is formed by local artist Shakila Maan, later joined by Ranjana Sharda, Chur Nijar, Poloumi Desai, Ammy Phull and Tony Ogogo. Supported by the Southall Monitoring Group and Southall Black Sisters, SAAAC gains funding from the GLC (Greater London Council), with a remit to support local artists, musicians and poets with a focus on ceramics. SAAAC also showcases artists from the Indian sub-continent such as Pandit Govind Prasad Jaipurwale, Pathana Khan, Asad Amanat Ali Khan, Ahmed Faraz, Gurdev Singh and so on with performances in Elderly Day centres, churches and schools. SAAAC also forms a street theatre company, Street 7, supported by the GLC Chingari Festival performing in locations such as council estates and high streets. In 1986, Heritage Ceramics takes over with a focus on ceramics and pottery.

Keda Productions Ltd music company set up on the Westar music complex in ‘Old Southall’ by Kuljit Bhamra, Essam Rashad, David Knowles and Alan Heaton. Their mission to produce music combining elements from India and Egypt with drum kits, guitars and western production techniques. The company created a marketing and production standard that had never been seem before in the Brit Asian music scene including real violin orchestra accompaniment, billboard advertising, legitimate posters at bus stops, high quality chrome tape music cassettes (as opposed to the normal ferric type), improved looking cassette and LP packaging and use of computers in recording production.

The newly formed Multitone Records commissions musician Kuljit Bhamra to produce two Punjabi albums for Bollywood playback singer Mahendra Kapoor. The first album Bhabi Gal Na Kari was released in 1987 and boasted three hit songs including ‘Aj Tenoon Nachna Pao’.

Southall Snooker Club opens in October. Situated on the corner of South Road and Beaconsfield Road.

Producer Kuljit Bhamra is asked to produce an album for the band Chirag Pehchan. The title song Rail Gaddi becomes an international hit and is still played at weddings today.

Lead singer Mangal Singh uses his success as a passport to Bollywood and later sings for the film industry and scores a triumph as a successful playback singer from UK. His hit song ‘Kali Teri Choti Te Paranda Tera Laal Ni’ was an international hit.

Producer Kuljit Bhamra works with singer/comedian Bali Brambhatt to create a comedy song called Patel Rap, released under the Multitone label.

The Tudor Rose club and venue situated on The Green played host to many bands, rap artists and rave nights. The venue fast became the most popular location for such music and performances.

The 90’s sees a large influx of Somalian refugees entering the UK, with a sizeable presence in Southall. South Road is now commonly known as ‘Little Mogadishu’.

The Unity Gig was held at the Westar complex in Southall to celebrate the diversity of music and cultures.

Harwant Bains writes his first feature film entitled Wild West set in Southall. The film is a hit and released throughout the UK. Read more…

Gurinder Chadha, a Southall native, releases her first feature film Bhaji on the Beach. Read more…

Balbir Bittu – Southall-based Punjabi singer releases ‘Dhol Attack’ under the Multitone label. The song ‘Gabroo Punjabi’ becomes a national hit.

Glassy Junction opens to the public and becomes the first public house where beer and food can be purchased with Indian Rupees.

The Winter of Love by director Shakila Maan opens the Raindance East film festival, telling the story of a small Southall family. Read more…

Afghan Sikhs take refuge in Southall as large numbers flee persecution and war instigated by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Read more…

Bend it like Beckham, by film maker Gurinder Chadha is based and shot in Southall. The film goes on to the highest independent earner in the UK. Read more….

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, a Bollywood film is based and shot in Southall. Read more…

Gurinder Chadha locates her film ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’ in Southall, due to be released in 2010. Read more…

In 2009, Southall has been reported to have a Christian minority. The majority being Sikhs, followed by Hindus. According to Wikipedia, the demographics are as follows:
Sikh: 36.58%, Hindu: 20.35%, Christian: 19.9%, Muslim: 18.86%, Buddhist: 0.57%, Jewish: 0.05%, Other/None: 7.69%

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