Tom McDonough, a project manager at the Lambeth Elderly Association from Vietnam, set up this project primarily to record and share the incredible stories of those Vietnamese and Chinese-Vietnamese people who arrived in London (and especially Lambeth) as refugees in the 1980s. Given the age-range of these individuals, they have witnessed all of the major events in Vietnam’s history since the end of the Second World War, including the war with France, the partition of the country, the US war and the exodus of refugees that followed the reunification of the country under Communist rule in 1975.
Besides accounts of 'life in Vietnam,' the former refugees’ stories include descriptions of their arduous and dangerous journeys to countries of first asylum in South East Asia and their experiences of life in the UK.
The project has also sought to document the stories of British-Vietnamese people who have grown up here. In the case of the British-Vietnamese, we have focused in particular on their experiences of growing up in London, the importance of Vietnamese culture to their identity and everyday life and also their opinion on their parents’ decision to leave Vietnam.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and carried out largely by volunteers over a two year period, Anchored in London has maximised the involvement of volunteers from both Vietnamese and other London communities over the course of the project. Our outputs are 20 video-recorded interviews, deposited with Lambeth Archives, a DVD, a booklet and this website.
It is our intention that this body of work will both preserve the oral history heritage of Lambeth’s Vietnamese community for future generations while also helping other communities in London and Britain to learn about the extraordinary stories of this particular ethnic minority group.
- "The project is important because people need to know the truth. Our stories are the truth and it's important that future generations know what happened." Father Simon [right], a Vietnamese Catholic priest and former refugee who now works with the Vietnamese Catholic community in east London.
- "From the time I saw the American soldiers throwing chewing gum to children from their jeeps I hated them. The children scrambled and fought for the chewing gum. It was demeaning. Why couldn't the Americans have stopped their jeeps for a few seconds and just handed out the chewing gum?" Mr Trung [right], a Catholic and former refugee currently working as a builder.
- Photo of young British Vietnamese woman in her garden in London. Photo by Anna Nguyen, a volunteer on the Anchored in London project.
- Photo of Vietnamese woman at home in London. Photo by Anna Nguyen, a volunteer on the Anchored in London project.
- Project volunteers Anna Nguyen and Tam Nguyen interviewing news reader/journalist Jon Snow on his experience of reporting on the Vietnamese refugee crisis.
- News reader/journalistJon Snow with Le Ho, Tam Nguyen and Anna Nguyen after Jon's interview.