Multi-Cultural Bedford

Bedford is the UK’s most racially diverse town, with more different races and cultures represented than anywhere else in the UK. Bedford has the largest Sikh Gurdwara in the UK outside London.

Bedford has a large Southern Asian population. Immigration from India, in particular the Punjab area, increased significantly in the late 1950s, with many taking jobs at The London Brick Company.

Italy too plays a major role in Bedford’s culture and history with the early 1950s seeing many Italians coming to the UK to find work, again as a result of The London Brick Company’s recruitment drive. By 1960, some 7,500 Italian men were employed by the LBC, many originally from regions of Southern Italy such as Campania and Puglia. Today, Bedford boasts a population of around 20,000 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Italians. Consequently, Bedford is a great place to come for Italian food with traditional and authentic restaurants and Café’s dotted around Bedford in and around Bedford.

In fact, foodies can enjoy a whole range of different cuisines without venturing out of Bedford. The tempting array includes food from Bangladesh, China, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Thailand, and even Vietnam. Visit our Places to Eat page for more details.

Since 2001 there has also been a significant migration to Bedford from countries joining the European Union, namely: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romani, Slovakia and Slovenia, increasing Bedford’s standing as proportionally the most ethnically and linguistically diverse town in the United Kingdom. Indeed there are close to 5,000 Bedford households where there is no adult speaking English as a main language.

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