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‘A fascinating book’ | Endangered Tiger: The Tiger Bay Story, by Neil M. C. Sinclair

An interesting book.

My mum used to talk about tiger bay and the fun she had , I wish I could go there but like everything its changed. A fascinating book and told of the community was and got along. But it was not to be redeveloped on and off from the 1960[s].

rachel wannell, 5 out of 5 stars. Verified Purchase on Amazon.co.uk.

Endangered Tiger builds on Sinclair’s previous work, The Tiger Bay Story, and offers a forceful account of the social decline of a community which began in the 1960s with the physical demolition of large sections of Cardiff’s north Butetown, Tiger Bay. Whilst Sinclair continues his aim of documenting the ‘insider’ history of a community, drawing on personal memories, family histories, photographs, interviews, newspaper references and other archival material, this book, much more so than its predecessor, has within it a fundamental polemic. Sinclair’s rally is an eloquently expressed defence of the representation and memory of the community rather than the protection of the remnants of is physical presence. As ‘the once proud Tiger now cowers at the desperate point of extinction’ there are things about which the record needs to be set straight, and Sinclair is not afraid to point the finger. In his sights are the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, media pundits who have much maligned the community, inept politicians, and even ‘elitist and distant’ race equality organisations. Sinclair likens the people of Tiger Bay, one of the oldest black communities in the whole of Europe, to colonial subjects: the victims of long-term deprivation, marginalization and exclusionary decision-making. His message? – Nobody asked us!

This is the power of Sinclair’s second book. It is, notwithstanding, a faithful testimony to the contribution, bravery, resistance and resilience of a community. It offers rich insights into the life and experiences of the place in a way that academic history books do not. Sinclair tells a story of a multicultural experience that attests to an enviable level of integration, social stability, mutual support and racial harmony. The accounts cover small business life, self-supporting welfare provision, pubs, clubs, births, marriages and deaths, but it is not all-singing and dancing. He is cautious not to over-stress homogeneity, nor does he suggest that this small part of Wales is the only place where there exists or existed a multicultural presence. Neither does he shy away from inter-racial tensions that have featured in the area latterly. Sometimes this book is overly nostalgic, sometimes meandering indulgently down memory lane, yet is inevitably a book of importance to nations right across Europe as they consider their own multi-ethnic presence. It is a pity that Sinclair does not seize the opportunity to hammer home some of the insights and the lessons of this natural experiment in multiculturalism to a wider public. Whilst he does illustrate the importance this community had historically in movements such as Pan-Africanism and the grassroots activism of the ‘30s and ‘40s, the significance of the contemporary situation is missed in this respect. We are all too slow in Wales to boast about some of our more obvious and instructive experiences…

Charlotte Williams. Review of previous book which contributed heavily to this one in New Welsh Review, no. 62 (2003).

Very good.

Jennifer Wilson, 5 out of 5 stars. Verified Purchase on Amazon.co.uk.

Roughly one square mile in size, Tiger Bay comprises of a rich, diverse, multi-ethnic community that lacks many of the problems often associated with melting-pots such as this. Combining personal and family memories and historical research, in Endangered Tiger: The Tiger Bay Story, Neil M. C. Sinclair delves behind the headlines and offers a view of Cardiff’s history not taught in schools.

Buy Endangered Tiger from Amazon, Apple Books, Google Books, or from your preferred retailer: geni.us/Tiger

Featured image credit: Richard Haywood

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‘A fascinating book’ | Endangered Tiger: The Tiger Bay Story, by Neil M. C. Sinclair

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