Some immigrants who have enriched British culture

Arthur Wharton, sportsman

Over the centuries, immigrants have enriched British culture in very many different fields.

We offer here a list of just a few of them. You will be able to think of many more.

Hans Holbein (1497-1543)

Probably the most famous of Holbein's many portraits is that of Henry VIII. Holbein was a native of Augsburg, Germany, and later lived at Lucerne in Switzerland. He first came to England in 1526 with a letter of introduction to the then Chancellor, Sir Thomas More. By 1536 he was undertaking commissions for the king. He died in London in 1543. If you visit the National Gallery you can see his great painting, The Ambassadors, completed in 1533.

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677)

Hollar's career suggests the relative ease with which able people moved about Europe in the seventeenth century - not because they were in any way oppressed but because they had talents which were in demand. Hollar is important to historians of London because of the detailed drawings he made of the great city before the fire of 1666. He was born in Prague but travelled to Frankfurt and Cologne before being encouraged by Thomas Howard, the British ambassador in Cologne, to make his home in England.

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)

Handel was a native of Halle, Germany, but some of his most impressive music, for example The Messiah was composed after he came to England. He first visited London in 1710, later coming to live there permanently under the patronage of the German-born monarch, George I.

Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849)

Brunel was born in Nomandy but left for New York in 1793 when his loyalist views went down badly in revolutionary France.His work as a surveyor and engineer led swiftly to his becoming Chief Engineer in New York. In 1799 he came to England undertaking numerous large-scale engineering projects and inventing a good deal of machinery. His most ambitious work was the construction of twin tunnels under the Thames from Rotherhithe to Wapping. His son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859)was, of course, an Engishman, born in Portsmouth.

Carlo Gatti (1817-1878)

Carlo Gatti may well have been the first person to sell ice-cream. He was a Swiss. He came to London in 1847 and sold refreshments from a stall. Two years later he opened a cafe where he sold chocolate. For his ice-cream business he had to import ice in huge quantities from Norway. He also boujght the ice that formed in winter on the Regent's Park Canal.

Arthur Wharton (1865-1930)

Arthur Wharton came to England from Ghana in 1884. He was probably the first African to play cricket in England and was the first professional black footballer, playing for Preston North End in 1887.

Vidiadhar Surajprasad (usually known as V.S.)Naipaul (1932- )

A House for Mr Biswas is perhaps the best known of V S Naipaul's novels. The writer is of Indian ancestry but was born in the Caribbean, in Trinidad. He settled in England in 1950.

Amy Johnson (1903-1941)

Amy Johnson was born in Hull in 1903. But her paternal grandfather was Danish. He came to Britain when he was sixteen, changing his name from Jorgenson to Johnson. Amy is most famous for her solo flight from England to Australia in 1930. Find out more about Amy Johnson

Paula Rego (1935- )

The distinguished artist Paula Rego was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1935. She studied at the Slade School in London and, although much of her work draws on her Portugese roots, she has chosen to live in London.

Find out more about Paula Rego

Zaha Hadid (1950- )

Zaha Hadid is an internationally renowned architect who was born in Baghdad but who established her own practice in London in 1979-80.

Jung Chang (1952- )

Jung Ghang , author of the best selling Wild Swans - Three daughters of China(1993) was born in the Sichuan Province of China in 1952. She came to Britain in 1978 and, after gaining a scholarship to York University, she became to first person from the People's Republic of China to receive a doctorate at a British University.

Hanif Kureishi (1954- )

Novelist Hanif Kureishi was born in England - in Bromley, Kent - but is the child of mixed parentage, his father coming from Pakistan. His best known work to date is The Buddha of Suburbia

Anish Kapoor (1954- )

Anish Kapoor is one of today's most celebrated sculptors. He came to Britain in the 1970s from his native Bombay. In 1990 he won one of the most coveted awards for Art, the Turner prize.

Ang Lee (1954- )

Ang Lee is a cosmopolitan figure rather than a British immigrant. He comes from Pingtung in Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1978. But Britain has claim to a piece of this leading director for his 1995 film of Jane Austen's novel, Sense and Sensibility which starred Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant and which won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 1996.

Juergen Teller (1964 -)

Photographer Yuergen Teller was born in Germany. He moved to London in the 1980s. He developed a career as a fashion photographer with a highly individual style which has become immensely influential. In 2003 he won the Citibank Photography Prize.

Find out more about Juergen Teller

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