Arnold White and Sir William Evans-Gordon: their involvement in immigration in late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain

Immigration into Britain, particularly that of poor Jews from Eastern Europe, was an important feature of British political life from 1881, the year of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, until 1905 when the Aliens Act became law. This twenty-four-year period saw much controversy and politi? cal action as an anti-immigrant lobby developed which aimed to restrict immigration into Britain. The numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe who settled in Britain were never at the level claimed by the anti-aliens. Many more immigrants of non-Jewish faith were settling in the country, but the political campaign was directed mainly, although not exclusively, at Jews. Official statistics for the years 1893-1902 show the numbers of Jews arriving from Russia, Poland and Romania (the starting point for most Jews) to have been only a third of the total listed as being ‘en route’. Most Jews from Eastern Europe were heading for the United

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