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Friday, 13 March 2009



Over the last couple of days, I have discovered some details about the Italians in South Wales, and it would appear that between 1871 and 1901 more than 80% of Italians who emigrated to England and Wales were from northern Italy.
Initially most of them came to London, particularly to Clerkenwell and Holborn, which became known as "Little Italy", where they set up their own schools, church and hospital. In 1900, nearly a thousand of them were selling ice-cream from carts.

I was interested in this story, as Benedetto GARGARO, has his occupation listed on the 1901 Census as Ice Cream Maker, and even his death certificate shows him as a Retired Ice Cream Maker (that was in 1948).
My mother had thought that Benedetto may have come from around Sicily, as other family members had mentioned this area, but now I am having second thoughts.

Anyway, other details from the COMENIUS PROJECT in Wales, state that:

There is no firm evidence to suggest why the people of Bardi chose Wales Wales as an emigration destination, other than it seems that different towns and villages in Italy tended to migrate to "twin" with certain areas.
No doubt they heard of the industrial and commercial boom in South Wales and decided to take their chance.

Initially London was their preferred destination. 28 organ grinders left for London in 1843-44.

I have often wondered how the Italians emigrated to England and Wales. An old photo that is on the site for the comenius Project - Blaengwawr Comprehensive School, shows the market place in Bardi in 1906, with the bus that took them to the railway that marked the first stage of their journey to Wales.

Did the train then take them to the nearest port, from where they boarded a ship that took them to London?
How did they get from London to Wales/South Wales - train or boat?

So many questions and few answers.
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