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Exhibition shares personal memories of Muslim communities

A new exhibition at Walthamstow’s Vestry House Museum explores the first-hand experiences of Muslim communities who moved from South Asia to Britain in the 1950s.

We Weren’t Expecting to Stay and Other Stories shares some of the material gathered so far through the Everyday Muslim project, which brings together photographs and interviews from individuals, businesses, mosques and Islamic centres across London.

The exhibition includes evocative photographs of everyday situations taken across London, including Waltham Forest. Its aim is to increase understanding of how Britain’s Muslim communities were established, and how they have changed over time.

Exhibition organiser Sadiya Ahmed, of Khizra Foundation, said: “The inspiration for the exhibition came from the realisation that our community wasn’t represented in museums or history books. The premise of not being able to know our own story and risk losing our heritage seemed a shame for future generations and local historians alike.”

The free exhibition at Vestry House, which is owned and run by Waltham Forest Council, runs from 14 March – 17 May.

Chris Robbins, Leader of the Council, said: “Waltham Forest is a wonderfully diverse borough and exhibitions like this represent a fantastic opportunity to celebrate that by looking at life in London from a different perspective – learning about local history and cultural changes at the same time.”

Notes to editors

We Weren’t Expecting to Stay and Other Stories

14 March – 17 May

Free entry

Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, London, E17 9NH

For further information or to request high-resolution images please contact Ian Mason:

020 8496 4726

07740 046143

About Vestry House Museum

Vestry House Museum is the local history museum for Waltham Forest and home of Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library. Set in an 18th century former workhouse in the heart of historic Walthamstow Village, the Museum tells the story of the borough through a series of permanent displays and special exhibitions. A favourite exhibit is Britain’s first petrol driven car, built by Frederick Bremer in 1892.

About Khizra Foundation

Khizra Foundation was formed in 2010 as an initiative to tackle the lack of representation of the Muslim community in the heritage sector. Its aim it to support and empower the many generations of Muslims living in the UK to, build heritage-based roots and create channels of communication, expression of their identity and celebration of their contribution to society. Project website:

If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at or on 020 8496 4521 / 4802.

For out of hours please email or call 07966 915 157.