THE YEMENI PROJECT
Welcome to the official website of The Yemeni Project, an online archive relating to the history of the South Shields Yemeni community.
"It is important for everyone, whatever their nationality, whether Yemeni, Palestinian, Lebanese, or Egyptian, to know the history of their country. They need to know their history. It is important for the future"
- Mohamed Al-Sayyadi, former chairman of Al Azhar Mosque, South Shields.
This website is a celebration of that shared history. Written and compiled by a small group of individuals based in the North East of England, it is an archive of information for the descendants of the Yemeni community and the wider South Shields community at large.
- The Yemeni and British Integration
- How did the Yemeni fit into a change of culture.
South Shields is an example to all of peaceful and tolerant coexistence. The original Yemeni men who came to the town were seamen who worked on British ships in very difficult conditions. They risked their lives to feed their families and many ended up settling in the port town of South Shields.
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- South Shields Boarding Houses
- Catering for Yemenis Sailors docking on Tyneside
"Ali Said opened the first seaman's boarding house for Arabs in 1894 . He opened it in the Holborn area of Laygate, South Shields which became an area largely associated with its Yemeni residents as more boarding houses and Arab businesses opened. By 1920 there were 8 boarding houses and the appearance of more Yemeni-run cafes lead to the formation of a Yemeni community"
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South Shields Yemeni community makes a great social and cultural contribution to our town. The first generations of merchant seamen who arrived in the 19th century were a vital part of the shipping industry that was the heart and soul of local life, and that legacy is still with us today. Our shared history is something we can all be proud of.
People from outside the North East are often surprised to hear that South Shields was and still is home to the first settled Muslim population in the UK, as well as the first purpose-built mosque. To me it isn't a surprise; it says a lot about the successful integration of the Yemeni community and the respect and tolerance our town has for other cultures. We have always depended on visitors and traders and I think that has made us an open and welcoming community.
The example of the Yemeni community is a fantastic demonstration of how different cultures can live together in modern Britain, with different traditions but shared goals and values. Previous generations worked and lived side by side, shared ideas, and started families together, and that process of sharing has enriched our community.
Dear Leyla, I think the project is a great idea for those who had fathers and grandfathers who came from Yemen. For me, my Grandfather was the most precious person I had in my life. He was one of the first Yemeni men to come to South Shields. He had a barbers shop and a fruit shop and was very generous with his time and money. He came from the same place as the Muckbles.
I think the Yemeni project is a lovely idea as I have been interested in learning more about my grandfather's native Yemen for many years. I feel the Yemeni people are amongst some of the most generous hearted in the world. It is great to share resources, especially photos and the project will help preserve a record of what has become, in South Shields a diminishing community. I am happy to support such a project!
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