Story and photo by Farhaan Warsame
The UK historically has been close to Somalia through its involvement in the British Somaliland Protectorate, this link has given rise to a long tradition of Somalis migrating to the UK. The first Somaliland immigrants came in the 19th Century. A second group of seamen came during World War 2 and moved to industrial cities such as Sheffield where labour was in great demand. They settled in Attercliffe and worked in the steel industry.
Mohamoud Abdilahi Ibrahim came in 1959 with a youth group from British Somaliland to the UK to work and they came by ship to Liverpool. Everyone decided to go where their relatives lived so he went to Mexborough but he could not find a job. After that, he moved to Sheffield and found a job in the steel industry in Attercliffe where his other relatives lived and worked. Mohamoud now is retired and sometimes he voluntarily cleans Ellesmere Green, as he now lives in Burngreave and has been here for more than 20 years.
“Sheffield people are very friendly and kind. I feel at home in Sheffield.”
During the 1980s and 1990s, the civil war in Somalia led to a large number of Somali immigrants, comprising the majority of the current Somali population in the UK. Some of them have settled in Burngreave and work locally, such as in Royal Mail and selfemployment.
Another Somali immigrant who lives in Burngreave said: “I like living in Burngreave because it has a lot of facilities such as different shops that sell a variety of food, Mosques, schools green spaces and good transport. I like that it is close to the City Centre.”