Timeline 1900 – 2024

Home Office Surveillance of Mixed Families and their Children in Manchester

By 1957 the Home Office was undertaking surveillance of new immigrant communities through a memorandum sent to all chief constables requesting information on the number of immigrants in their area, the state of the integration process, living conditions, level of crime, illegitimacy rates, and involvement in brothels. The 1960 memorandum asked about ‘intermixing, miscegenation and illegitimacy’. The information the Home Office specifically requested from the Chief Constable of Manchester included the number of ‘one parent coloured’ and ‘both parents coloured’ families, the number of their children born inside of and outside marriage, and the families’ accommodation.

The report revealed that of 58,000 children under 5 in Manchester in 1961, 971 (1.7%) had two ‘coloured’ parents and 527 (0.9%) had one ‘coloured’ parent (the Home Office terming these children ‘half-caste’). Most lived in Moss Side, Chorlton-on-Medlock and Ardwick.  50% of the mixed race children were born outside marriage (and two-thirds of these had a West Indian parent), compared with 25% of those with two ‘coloured’ parents. Of the ‘mixed’ families 44% lived in rooms, compared with two-thirds of the two ‘coloured’ parents families. The Home office commented on the Chief Constable’s report: ‘ I should not myself regard these figures as very startling. If anything they bear out our conclusion that there has not so far been a great deal of intermixing and miscegenation’.