I Pity the Poor Immigrant: Hasina as a Foil in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane

Monica Ali’s portrayal of London and Nazneen’s experience as an immigrant is, to a great degree, inflected by a comparison to which Ali repeatedly returns – Hasina’s experience in her homeland of Bangladesh. The epistolary form of Hasina’s narrative – and its role in Nazneen’s life – is an issue that often perplexes readers and critics alike, especially given the seemed stereotypes that litter Hasina’s narrative. What critics tend to overlook, however, are the subtle ways in which Ali subverts or complicates both Nazneen and Hasina’s characterisations. In this paper, I will argue how it is fruitless to interpret the inclusion of Hasina’s life in Dhaka as a foil intended to project certain messages about the ability of London to enrich an immigrant’s life through providing them with the tools to emancipate themselves. Rather, Ali seeks to create a more nuanced portrayal of how London uniquely shapes the life of a few immigrants and how in doing so, she evades totalisations of the immigrant experience in London. I argue that the lengths Ali goes to in order to establish the distinctness and individualisation of Nazneen’s experience, combined her depiction of fringe characters, such as Chanu and Razia, as they interact with London and British culture absolves Ali from the “burden of representation”.

Nazneen’s experience of London as an immigrant is explicitly and implicitly represented in a comparative manner, with Hasina’s experiences in Bangladesh acting as a sort of proxy for what Nazneen’s life could have been like. Many critics have identified the portrayal of Hasina as a stereotype, with her continual suffering and misadventures cementing her status as a symbol of subjugation. Pankaj Mishra of the New York Review of Books even likens Hasina’s letters to that of a tourist, stating ‘at times, Hasina sounds more like a travel writer from England than an oppressed woman from Bangladesh, especially when she reports on the rickshaws in Dhaka painted with the face of Britney Spears’. Attempts to reconcile such depictions have led to a variety of different inferences as to Ali’s attempted meaning behind Hasina’s letters.  Jane Hiddleston in her essay “Shapes and Shadows: (Un)veiling the Immigrant in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane” explores how the stereotypical representation of Hasina draws attention to the way in which myths circulate around both the culture of London and that of Dhaka. For Hiddleston, Hasina’s letters are ‘testimony to the pervasiveness of such stereotypes in Bangladesh as well as in Britain, and their inclusion in a novel…forces us to consider the difficulty of attempting to free any representation of cultural identity from their influence’ (63). Hiddleston’s analysis of the purpose served by Hasina’s epistolary presence within the novel illustrates the tendency to view Hasina’s experience relatively to Nazneen’s London life. For Hiddleston, it is the inclusion of Hasina that allows Ali to shed light on the mythic immigrant narrative that revolves around London.

Michael Perfect in his essay “The Multicultural Bildungsroman: Stereotypes in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane” further scrutinizes the dialogue of controversy surrounding Hasina’s portrayal and how it inflects Ali’s portrayal of London and the immigrant experience. He expresses how many critics have sought to ‘emphasise [the use of stereotype’s] sense of knowing irony in doing so’ (110). Perfect rejects this interpretation of stereotypes within the novel, arguing instead that the presentation of Hasina’s life in Bangladesh as a contrapositive to Nazneen’s experience as an immigrant in London serves to celebrate integration. He argues that stereotypes are employed as ‘aesthetic counterpoints in order to further emphasise the protagonist’s final integration into contemporary British society’ (110). Perfect works to undermine the assumption that Ali ironically utilises stereotypes in the text. He identifies Naila Kabeer’s book The Power to Choose as a source of inspiration for Ali. In fact, many of Hasina’s anecdotes and experiences seem to have been directly pulled from testimonies of female Bangladeshi garment workers expressed in Kabeer’s book. Perfect notes that Ali appropriates these testimonies, picking ‘the most despairing ones that Kabeer’s study has to offer’ and that she ‘occasionally modifies them to make them even bleaker’ (118). In this way, Perfect argues that Ali alters the fundamental message of Kabeer’s book, which is to demonstrate that ‘it is the women in Dhaka rather than London who are experiencing an increase in personal agency; indeed, in their “power to choose”’ (118). Perfect concludes that Ali’s use of stereotypes in her representation of Hasina is integral to Ali’s message – that ‘Nazneen does not lose her identity in multicultural London but rather discovers it’ (119).

Both critical responses to the use of stereotypes in Ali’s novel seem to depend on a certain critical gaze whereby life as an immigrant in London is necessarily inflected by a contrapositive of life in Dhaka. In this interpretation, Hasina’s life as a Bangladeshi native in her hometown of Dhaka is used relatively as a foil to portray the effect of London in providing Nazneen the tools and opportunity for self-empowerment. The concern surrounding the use of stereotypes reveals a somewhat fundamental assumption about the function and purpose of the immigrant novel – to authentically represent an underrepresented group of people. In this way, Ali’s novel does indeed suffer the “burden of representation”. I argue, conversely, that Ali complicates a generalised interpretation of the life of a Bangladeshi immigrant in London. She does this through her intricate, distinct and personalised portrayal of Nazneen and her interaction with specific locales in London. Further, she elucidates the perspectives towards and experiences of London through the eyes of other characters, such as Chanu. Finally, she provides key details that push back against the perceived representation of Hasina in Dhaka as the innocent and uneducated contrapositive to what Nazneen would have become had she not been liberated and freed by the city of London.

Ali attempts to avoid the generalisations that often accompany readings of immigration novels by seeking to portray London as distinctly and uniquely experienced under Nazneen’s gaze. Firstly, Ali seeks only to expose a portion of London, with Nazneen confined mostly to her apartment and few other key locations. For the first few chapters, Nazneen’s experience of London is limited to her flat and housing estate. Becoming accustomed to her surroundings, Nazneen notes, ‘She walked slowly along the corridor, looking at the front doors. They were all the same. Peeling red paint showing splinters of pale wood, a rectangular panel of glass with wire mesh suspended inside, gold-rimmed keyholes, stern black knockers.’ (36). Ali’s use of detailing draws attention to the individuality of the way in which Nazneen experiences London. For Nazneen, London has already become uniform, predictable and familiar. Far from the seeming “immigrant trope” of the new land being foreign and alien, Nazneen perceives London in a way that complicates this stereotype. When she does venture into the city and moves beyond Brick Lane for the first time, she notices, ‘Men in dark suits trotted briskly up and down the steps, in pairs or in threes. They barked to each other and nodded sombrely.’ (39). Nazneen analyses the men she passes as one would a flock of animals. They are described in similar terms, no one individual differentiated from another. They come in pairs or threes, and “bark” – a term more frequently applied to dogs than humans. On one hand, Ali may serve to describe these men in a manner that emphasises Nazneen’s dissociation from the cultural landscape she finds herself in. However, at the same time, the seemed homogeneity of these men underlines the monotony and limitation of London life – a far cry from the diversity and variety the foreign land is expected to offer in the typical immigrant narrative.

The idea that immigrant life in London is posed as a favourable alternative to life in Dhaka is also complicated by the characters who operate at the fringes of Nazneen’s narrative. Chanu’s understanding of London culture is complex and paradoxical. Nazneen says of his decision on what his daughters shall wear, ‘If he had a Lion Hearts leaflet in his hand, he wanted his daughters covered. He would not be cowed by these Muslim-hating peasants. If he saw some girls go by in hijab he became agitated at this display of peasant ignorance. Then the girls went out in their skirts.’ (217). Chanu’s seemingly paradoxical behaviour – dressing his daughters traditionally upon feeling threatened by lower-class bigots only to demand that they wear more mainstream clothing when wanting to differentiate himself from other Muslims – serves to dissect and critique the idea that London is converse to Bangladesh. People from both groups are deemed “peasants” in Chanu’s eyes (whether Chanu’s use of the term “peasant” in both cases is justified is another argument), thus diminishing the idea that the process of enlightenment and empowerment is unique to London and alien to a country like Bangladesh.

Razia’s story also offers a unique perspective in order to complicate the idea that London offers a sense of freedom and autonomy unavailable to women in Dhaka. As Nazneen discusses her adultery to Razia, her friend explains that to be “in love” is the “English style” (360). Nazneen reacts, ‘How irritating Razia could be sometimes! Who was it who made herself so English, anyway? With her British passport and tracksuit and Union Jack sweatshirt…She would not ask for Razia’s opinion now. She would do as she pleased.’ (360). The embrace of British culture, seemingly embodied through the character of Razia, is here rejected by Nazneen, who responds with a sentiment bordering on disgust. While Nazneen’s affair suggests a turning away from Bengali tradition and a greater acceptance of a freer and more autonomous “British” culture, Nazneen simultaneously rejects London, deciding rather to “do as she pleases”.

Just as Ali undoes the generalisation of London as a pinnacle of emancipation for immigrants through Nazneen’s perspective, she similarly complicates the interpretation of Hasina as the innocent and helpless Bangladeshi contrapositive. Hasina, unlike Nazneen, is considered to be the one who ‘kicks against her fate’ (10) by marrying for love – a tradition that Razia later ironically labels British. Furthermore, just as Nazneen moves from the village to the city, so does Hasina; ‘In morning soon as husband go out for work I go away to Dhaka.’ (41). The idea that Nazneen’s village innocence informs the empowering effect London has on Nazneen is thus discredited. Both sisters move to the city and as such, this binary of Dhaka and London is not one of village and city, but rather city and city. Furthermore, Hasina’s choice to leave her husband, albeit due to domestic violence, predates Nazneen’s own choice to leave Chanu later in the novel. It is Hasina who is arguably more emancipated and self-autonomous than Nazneen – at least initially. Far from the innocent and naïve Bangladeshi “peasant”, as Chanu would say, Hasina proves to be resourceful, autonomous and ultimately successful in finding a secure position as a maid for a wealthy couple with anglicised names – James and Lovely.

The call for authenticity in representing underprivileged communities in immigrant novels places Monica Ali’s novel Brick Lane under pressure, specifically in regard to the stereotypes she employs. The controversy surrounding Ali’s portrayal of Hasina places focus on how the depiction of London is inflected by a contrapositive experience in Dhaka. However, Ali goes to great lengths to avoid totalising London and the immigrant experience through her unique portrayal of Nazneen’s interaction with London and the spaces she explores, the perspective of Chanu and his paradoxical experience of British society and the complication of Hasina’s characterisation.


Works Cited: 

Ali, Monica. Brick Lane: A Novel. First Scribner trade paperback edition.

Hiddleston, Jane. “Shapes and Shadows: (Un)Veiling the Immigrant in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature, vol. 40, no. 1, 2005, pp. 57.

Perfect, Michael. “The Multicultural Bildungsroman: Stereotypes in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature, vol. 43, no. 3, 2008, pp. 109.





Monica Ali: A Life in Pictures

Award-winning author Monica Ali.
A main street in Bolton, Ali’s hometown after she moved from Dhaka.
Ali graduated from Wadham College, Oxford University with a degree in PPE.
Monica Ali with her two children, Shumi and Felix.
The book cover for Ali’s first novel, Brick Lane.
A still from the film adaptation of Ali’s novel.
Ali’s second novel, Alentejo Blue, was set in this idyllic Portuguese town where Ali owns a holiday home.
Book cover for Ali’s third novel, In the Kitchen.
Ali speaks at the Oxford Union Society “People who shape our world” on “immigration of good for Britain”.

An Overnight Success: A Brief Biography of Monica Ali

Monica Ali is an award-winning, best-selling writer. She is most renowned for her breakthrough novel Brick Lane, which brought attention to the Bangladeshi immigrant experience in London.

Monica Ali.

Ali is the daughter of English and Bangladeshi parents and was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1967. In 1971, aged three, Ali’s family moved to Bolton, England, in order to escape the civil war that erupted in Pakistan. After attending the Bolton School, she studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University and graduated from Wadham College. She then entered the field of publishing, working in the marketing department of a small publishing house before moving into sales and marketing management positions at the publishing house Verso. Ali married a consultant, Simon Torrance, and gave birth to her first child in 1999. She subsequently begun to experiment with writing fiction, but soon found that short stories did not suit her. After giving birth to her second child in 2001, Ali’s father died. His death prompted her to begin work on her first novel, “Brick Lane”. It was published in 2003 to critical acclaim and was adapted into a film released in 2007. Ali now lives in London with her family.

Futility, Sex & Revenge in Eliot’s The Fire Sermon


A rat crept softly through the vegetation
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank
While I was fishing in the dull canal
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse
Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck
And on the king my father’s death before him.
White bodies naked on the low damp ground
And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
Rattled by the rat’s foot only, year to year.
But at my back from time to time I hear
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
And on her daughter
They wash their feet in soda water
Et O ces voix d’enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc’d.


My chosen passage begins with the image of a rat, immediately establishing one of the poem’s recurring symbols. The rat is vile, degenerative and infamous for its ability to transmit disease and lurk in dirty places. This image is consolidated in the onomatopoeic “slimy belly”, which the rat “drags” along the bank — the word “slimy” evoking disgust, just as the rat’s slinking draws attention to its physical and figurative lowness.

The passage then shifts to describe the speaker as fishing in the “dull canal” — the assonance suggesting a lifelessness contradictory to the normal association of water as life-giving. The word “fish” introduces the allusion to “The Fisher King”, an Arthurian legend that refers to a “King” who, after being injured becomes impotent and turns the world barren. In order to restore the land to fertility, the knight Parsifal must endure various trials, reach the Perilous Chapel, and answer questions relating to the Holy Grail. While Parsifal’s quest speaks of hope, Eliot’s wasteland appears fixed in The Fisher King’s state of endless futility.

This idea of a cold, sterile world is continued in the following line beginning ‘on a winter evening’. Winter is the darkest season where growth is inhibited. Further, it is “evening”, a liminal time belonging to neither day nor night. Light lingers but the onset of darkness is imminent, thus invoking a portrait of a speaker, and perhaps a civilisation, on the brink of its demise.

The following line, beginning with “musing”, draws the reader into the internal thoughts of the speaker. Here the speaker is pondering ‘the king my brother’s wreck / And on the king my father’s death before him,’ — an allusion to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in which Prospero schemes revenge on his brother who cast him off to an island and usurped his role as Duke of Milan. This allusion is striking for two reasons. Firstly, the repetition in “king my brother” and “king my father” blurs familial distinctions thus confusing the nature of traditional, reliable institutional structures. Secondly, Eliot alludes to a story that hinges upon revenge – a theme reinforced through other allusions I will discuss later in my analysis.

Sex is another point of interest for Eliot in this excerpt. The line, ‘but at my back from time to time I hear’, is a reference to Marvell’s, To His Coy Mistress — its alliteration and repetition suggesting time creeps up from behind, ticking away to its ultimate conclusion. In Marvell’s poem his speaker acknowledges that if he had an infinite amount of time, he would woo the woman to whom he speaks. However, he argues that given the imminent ageing of their bodies, the woman should forego her coyness and sleep with him. Thus Eliot twists the meaning of the allusion in a manner that demeans traditional values of a woman’s chastity and a man’s chivalry.

The concept of sex equalling connectivity is similarly challenged in the following lines where Eliot introduces “Mrs Porter”, a character in an Australian drinking song sung by soldiers stationed in Egypt prior to being sent to the front. “Mrs Porter”, and her similarly mentioned daughter are prostitutes. The rhyming of “Porter”, “daughter” and “water” encourages a rhythmic meter of a soldier’s merry song — but in reality alludes to young men doomed to die, and mother and daughter prostitutes trying to scrub themselves clean. This allusion is used in conjunction with another — John Day’s, Parliament of Bees which recounts the Greek myth of Diana and Actaeon and, like The Tempest, is centred around revenge. In the poem, Actaeon comes upon Diana, the goddess of war, bathing unclothed. Noticing him, Diana turns him into a stag so that he may never speak of what he saw. Thus, in his allusion, Eliot reduces Diana to a common sex object — the belittling of such a revered figure furthered through the mocking tone evoked by the rhyming couplets.

In the final stanza, Eliot creates a sense of uneasiness by abandoning a more traditional verse for repetitive stressed syllables —“Twit” and “Jug” and iambs — ‘So rudely forc’d / Tereu’. Here he references Philomena, who, in Greek mythology, was raped by her brother-in-law Tereus, who later silenced her by slicing her tongue. Unable to speak, the Gods took pity on Philomena making her nightingale — but while Eliot’s reference could be seen as redemptive, in nature, it is the male, not the female nightingale that sings.

In The Waste Land, Eliot interweaves a variety of collective moods and personal experiences in order to cultivate a tone that is rooted in sterility and meaninglessness. Historically, Eliot uses a plethora of imagery – the scurrying rat which evokes images of soldiers in the trenches, the mention of bones and bodies – to capture a nihilistic post-WWI zeitgeist.

The poem is representative of a time where the war was over but ‘revenge’ brought only disenchantment. Thematically Eliot explores these concepts through his allusions to Shakespeare and John Day. In a world that has been irreversibly changed through suffering, the notion of “revenge” appears empty and any true solace unachievable.

A new era of industrialisation forced an end to romanticism and a confusion as to how society might reconfigure itself in this state of “in-between”. Urbanisation brought a lack of traditional guidance — in family, Elizabethan conventions and religion that failed to ease the deep post-war grief. Eliot’s experimentation with poetic construction can then perhaps be seen as a reflection of this uncertainty, as he shifts from traditional verse to jarring stressed syllables and iambs.

In light of this suffering, Eliot reveals how civilians sought meaning through connection, ultimately turning to sex (“Mrs Porter”, “His Coy Mistress”). However, through these allusions Eliot degrades the value of sex examining how individuals’ attempts to cultivate connectedness were only met with disappointment.

Finally, we can consider Eliot’s own disenchantment as a soon-to-be middle-aged poet grappling with a desire to write with authenticity. Hospitalised for depression in 1921, he perhaps looked to the authenticity of others, littering the poem with allusions. Through these constructs he explored the lingering repercussions of war, the torment of an inability to find meaning in intimacy, and a loss of hope for the future of society as a whole.


A Quiet Corner of Respite nestled between Hyde Park and Oxford Street

Since there were no “Tallis Street Views” pertaining to the Kensington Vestry, I decided to select the following view of Oxford Street near Hyde Park near the intersection with Park Lane as a source of examination:

Tallis Street View of Oxford Street near Hyde Park near the intersection with Park Lane.

There are many terrace buildings in this section of Oxford Street, suggesting it is a hustling and bustling locale. However, in this part of the street there doesn’t seem to be quite as many businesses as further down, suggesting that perhaps this was the bridge between a more residential and commercial area. The proximity to Hyde Park suggests that this was a sort of “in-between” space, connecting the busy hubbub of one of the major streets of the city to the natural, less crowded park space. The side of the street pictured above is filled with tall buildings of an even height, while the opposite side of the street shows buildings that were more uneven. On this side of the street a boot-makers shop can be seen – the first building in a string of stores that continue well down Oxford Street.

I imagine that the smell of greenery would waft from the park over to this part of the street and would provide a sort of floral scent for people passing up and down. I would hear carriages as they traverse the street and exit in and out of the park. Wheels would turn over gravel-paved roads and I would hear the sound of horses trotting and snorting as they carried passengers to and fro. The sound of voices would fill the air as citizens converse as they walked up and down the street and wandered in and out of stores.

Bethlehem Hospital from The Queen’s London: a pictorial and descriptive record.

Not far from this location lay the Bethlehem Hospital. This hospital existed in various forms as early as 1247 but opened at its St. George Fields location in 1807, after its former premises were deemed unsafe. It was originally built for a capacity for 200, although some extensions were made during the century to accommodate up to 400 patients. Criminal patients were moved to Broadmoor in 1864. In 1930 it moved to its current site in Kent. It is the oldest psychiatric institution in the world. The nineteenth-century premises are now the Imperial War Museum.

The premises of Bethlehem Hospital are grand and imperial. The gates cast an ominous ambience over the establishment, while the extensive fencing and hedging reinforces the hospital’s desire to keep patients in and the general public out. The building itself is imposing, its image of grandeur projected mainly through its Ionic columns and large dome. A passer-by may have a sense of wariness as they walked past this hospital, marvelling at the architectural magnificence of the building whilst simultaneously becoming unnerved by the knowledge of its purpose as an asylum for the insane.

When Rural Outskirts meets Infrastructural Boom: The Rapid Rise in Population within the Kensington Vestry

Throughout the 19th century, the population growth in the Kensington District area was substantial. This presumably occurred due to the westward urban sprawl of the city, seeing inhabitants move out of the city centre and towards the outskirts. In the 1800s, the population was recorded at 8,556, yet by the 1890s the population had reached 163,151. This demonstrates a population rise of 1900% over a period of 90 years. Interestingly, Kensington is also significantly more populated than the surrounding metropolitan districts. This may suggest something about the social class of Kensington during this time – perhaps it was more affordable than the neighbouring Westminster and Chelsea vestries. At the beginning of the century Kensington was largely dominated by market gardens with large estates, meaning population density was low. However, beginning in the 1860s there was an infrastructural boom. In 1867 and 1868 construction in the Kensington district alone accounted for 10 percent of all building erections in London. Large properties were also subdivided during this time, increasing population density by creating room for a greater number of people to settle and minimising the number of families living on large estates.

View of Cary’s new and accurate plan of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark and parts adjacent; viz. Kensington, Chelsea, Islington, Hackney, Walworth, Newington, &c….and plans of the New London & East and North India docks (1818).

I also consulted some historic basemaps in order to get a better understanding of how the population density of the area changed over time. An 1818 map, Cary’s new and accurate plan of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark and parts adjacent; viz. Kensington, Chelsea, Islington, Hackney, Walworth, Newington, &c….and plans of the New London & East and North India docks, reveals the Kensington district to have been relatively underdeveloped and rural during the 1810s.

View of the Stanford’s map of the British metropolis and its suburbs (Published by Edward Stanford, 1884).

From this basemap, it appears that the area is dominated by large-sized parks, paddocks and grounds attached to expansive properties. However, the Stanford’s map of the British metropolis and its suburbs (Published by Edward Stanford) demonstrates that by 1884, Kensington was far more developed. You can even see a railway running through the area. I imagine this would have increased accessibility to the Kensington district and attracted more individuals looking to settle down among the outskirts of London. This may also explain why Kensington was more populated at the end of century than its neighbour Fulham – perhaps the railways did not stretch that far at that point.

Workhouses, Asylums & Hospitals: A Glimpse into the Institutions of the Kensington Vestry during the 19th Century

The metropolitan work district I have chosen to focus on for this project is the Kensington district. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the only institution within the Kensington district was the Fulham Road Workhouse, which was expanded in 1876 when the infirmary was extended. It is currently occupied by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. In the 1840s another workhouse appeared in the district called the Marloes Road Workhouse. This workhouse expanded its premises in 1880 by incorporating two other workhouses on the same road – the former St. John’s Westminster and St. Margaret workhouses. After its expansion, this institution housed 730 inmates and 470 sick and injured individuals in the infirmary.

Throughout the 1820s and 1830s two lunatic asylums appeared in the Kensington district. The first was Cowper House, which housed nearly 40 patients in 1844, and the second was Kensington House Asylum institution housing 55 patients during the same time period. Both were private institutions, meaning they were profitable. This growth reflected a trend in this period where lunatic asylums offered a quick solution for the wealthy to send away “troubled relatives”. The profitability of these institutions is noticeable in their images. The grounds around the buildings are well manicured and extremely green. The buildings themselves look grand, lofty and imposing – indicative of the social class of their targeted demographic.

Cowper House Lunatic Asylum
Cowper House housed 39 patients in 1844. It is situated on the south side of the street, roughly where Melton Court is today.

Also notable is the increase in hospitals from the 1840s onwards. The first hospital that appeared was the Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of The Chest, followed by the Cancer Hospital during the 1950s. The second was a hospital founded by William Marsden, offering treatment to poor cancer patients for free. The final hospital to appear in this district was the Chelsea Hospital for Women during the 1970s, which exclusively treated diseases unique to women. Notable is the fact that these three hospitals all appeared along or close to Fulham Road, which may have had something to do with accessibility of these areas.

Kensington House Lunatic Asylum
Kensington House is a private lunatic asylum. It accommodated 55 patients in 1844.

In the 1860s another medical-related charitable institution emerged – the Jews Deaf and Dumb Institution. This institution was situated in various other locations before settling in Notting Hill in 1875. This is particularly interesting as it was a leading institution in teaching the deaf through the method of oral learning. At roughly the same time, London’s oldest synagogue was also established, suggesting that there was a growing Jewish Community in the North Kensington area.


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