Our City: Migrants and the Making of Modern Birmingham
(Unbound, 288 PP, £18.99)
Tablet bookshop price £17.09 • Tel 020 7799 4064
Recently, I read about a project in the Black Country offering medically qualified refugees and migrants English lessons and work experience in a clinical environment. The aim was to help address the growing crisis in NHS staffing levels. To date, almost 200 people have been recruited. The article, published in The Guardian, was written by Jon Bloomfield, historian, urban policy specialist and author of Our City. It is exactly this kind of success story that Bloomfield highlights in his engaging and accessible study of Birmingham, the second-largest city economy in Britain.
Bloomfield has lived and worked there for 40 years. He is proud to be known as the man who brought the Frankfurt Christmas Market to Birmingham and fought to make it a success. Bloomfield is evidently keen to project his home city as progressive and outward- looking, rather than riven by ethnic and cultural tensions.