Multicultural Britain

Notting Hill Carnival grew out of Caribbean traditions. Today, it is an event where all cultures come together. As Nick’s been finding out, the UK truly is multicultural.

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • Have you ever visited or lived somewhere with a different culture?
  • How multicultural is the place where you live?
  • Is there more immigration to or emigration from your country?

Now, watch the video to find out more about multicultural Britain.



This is Southall Broadway in West London. This area has one of the largest Asian populations in London. The United Kingdom is an ethnically diverse country with many different communities that reflects the multicultural nature of Britain. Many British people’s families originally come from overseas. Over the centuries, people from around the world have come to live here.

The first significant wave of immigrants arrived by ship from Jamaica in 1948. The Notting Hill Carnival celebrates this Caribbean culture. 

In the 1950s and 60s, Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani families made Britain their home. Asian Ugandan refugees fled here in the 1970s. Followed by Somalis in the 90s. And in recent years, Eastern European citizens have arrived in search of work.

This cultural variety makes Britain a vibrant place to be, but it’s not without its problems. Conflicts can arise between cultures and generations. Young people whose parents or grandparents settled here have a very different experience of growing up to their parents.


Sunny Grewel and his father Avinda live in Southall. Avinda came here from Kenya in the 70’s. Sunny was born here.

Nick: Avinda, what was life like when you first came here?

Avinda: It was hard. There was no jobs for, for people like us.

Nick: And what’s life like now, for young people, Sunny?

Avinda: I think we’re very much a part of the communities and government and everything, so it’s a lot more equal for everyone.

Nick: What are the main arguments between the younger and older generations?

Avinda: When they were small, I wouldn’t let him wear these earrings and have a long ponytail. They have to look smart.

Nick: And what’s the best thing about living here, Sunny?

Sunny: The food, the different cultures that come in and bring their spices, their experiences and even their rituals, so you get a taste of the world within this small community.


In the past, differences between communities have led to violence. But new community-based projects have brought different generations and cultures together.

Here at St Mary’s School in Cardiff in Wales, more than 20 languages are spoken. It’s one of the most multicultural schools in Wales. The school was involved with a project called 'Open Cities'. It helps migrants, people from other countries, become part of the community. The school children took pictures of people and places to show what it's like to live in Cardiff.

Some of the kids are featured in an exhibition called Open Cities Faces.


Mercy and Joy and their father Derek are originally from Zambia. They have lived here for six years. 

Nick: Derek, tell me why you came to Cardiff and why you took part in this project.

Derek: I am an Engineering Consultant. I came to Cardiff because I was offered a job here. This project was a good thing because it was trying to show something positive about migration and integration.

Nick: Why is Mercy photographed by a window?

Derek: Because the photographer wanted to find a way to show the hopes for our future – the better life that we look towards.

Nick: But there’s a lot of shadow in that photograph, as well.

Derek: Yes, the shadow is deliberate to try to show our past, where we’ve come from.

Nick: And do you consider Cardiff to be your home now?

Derek: Yes. We are part of the local community, we have settled down and we think Cardiff is great.

Projects like ‘Open Cities’ can bring people in the community together and give young people hope for the future. 

Task 1

Vocabulary Task

Match the words in the box with the descriptions underneath.


Task 2

Vocabulary Task

Read the questions and select the correct answers.



Language level

Average: 2.2 (6 votes)
Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Wed, 06/02/2019 - 03:59

Could you please help me? I looked up the words "mark" and "stain". However, in the following sentence, I can't decide the difference in usage. - The bark of the tree had made black (stains - marks) on his trousers. I appreciate your helping me. Thank you so much.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

'Mark' is a very general word. You can make marks on a page with a pen or on a wall with a stone. The weather can leave marks on clothes and time leaves marks on your face.

'Stain' is more specific. It is usually negative (something you do not want) and it is not just on the outside, but in some way has combined with the material so it is hard to remove. Paint leaves stains on your clothes, for example.

In your example I think 'stain' is probably the best choice.



The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Wed, 06/02/2019 - 03:52

Could you please help me? What is the difference between "sculpture" and "carving"? In the following sentence, can we use both? - I read a book about the history of European painting and (sculpture - carving). Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,


Carving in the artistic sense refers to a way of making something by scraping away parts of it. The material is usually hard rather than soft. Carving is one technique in scultpure. When used as a noun, carving usually describes a pattern made in something flat or small, such as a wall or a piece of wood.


Sculpture has a broad meaning. It creates free-standing forms which can be abstract or representational (especially of people). Examples include the Moai from Easter Island, the Venus of Willendorf, the Angel of the North and Michelangelo's David.



The LearnEnglish Team

So, do you mean that both words are OK in this sentence or only one of them? Thank you

Hello again Ahmed Imam

I'm afraid neither Peter nor I can say without knowing more about the book that you're referring to. Usually a book that addresses painting will probably also look at sculpture in general (rather than just carving), but as I said, that really depends on what the book is about.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team