Manchester Ukrainian Community

Scope and Content

  • A collection of photographs of the Manchester Ukrainian Community in the 1950s-1960s
  • A booklet celebrating 60 Years of the Ukrainian Saturday School in Manchester 1954-2014
  • Oral History with Zenka Mitchell, 2019

Administrative / Biographical History

Anecdotal evidence places Ukrainians in Manchester as early as 1893 and even earlier in the North-West, but there is no evidence of the foundation of any community groups during these years. The first documentary evidence of Ukrainians in Manchester was confirmed by an entry in the Aliens Register in Salford of J. Koyetsky from Brody, Ukraine in 1897. Some 100 families settled in Manchester prior to WWI and in the post war years a community centre was established. An Information Centre was founded in London and religious and cultural links established with Manchester.

During WWII the Manchester community centre in Brideoak Street, Cheetham Hill was used by Allied Canadian soldiers of Ukrainian descent who enriched Ukrainian life in Manchester. Towards the end of WWII and after cessation of hostilities, a large number of Ukrainians (mainly displaced persons from camps in Germany) arrived in Manchester and the surrounding towns. Ukrainians were integrated into the UK as European Voluntary Workers, while Ukrainian POWs from the Polish and German armies were also demobilised and settled in the Manchester area as well as other parts of the UK.

The size of the Ukrainian community in the late 1940s was up to 10,000 persons in the Greater Manchester area, with 3,000 of them in Manchester alone. The community integrated with the early migrants (1890s)at the community centre in Cheetham Hill, North Manchester. A Ukrainian Catholic congregation was established at St. Chad's Roman Catholic Church in the 1930s, which continued until the Ukrainian Catholic parish became established at its present location on Bury Old Road, Cheetham Hill at the Dormition of Our Lady Church.

The Manchester Branch of the Association of Ukrainians in GB (AUGB) was established during the late 1940s as well as a Ukrainian Women's' Organisation (OUZh), a Ukrainian Youth Organisation (CYM), Plast (Ukrainian Scouts) and a Ukrainian Former Combatants Organisation. The cultural life of the community was enhanced in 1949 by the formation of a choir (Homin) and a folk dance group (Orlyk). A Ukrainian Saturday School was founded in 1954 through which taught thousands of second and third generation Ukrainian children and which still operates today as a supplementary school offering nursery, child and adult educational services. In Whalley Range, South Manchester, two community centres were opened in the late 1940s and early 1950s and an Orthodox Ukrainian church was consecrated to fulfil all denominational and social needs.

The current cultural centre on Smedley Lane was purchased in 1963 and extended in 1968 by the addition of a two-storey Concert Hall that included a restaurant, classrooms and a dance practise room. In the 1990s the South Manchester community centres were incorporated into the North Manchester Cultural Centre but the Ukrainian Orthodox church is still serving the Orthodox congregation to this day from South Manchester in Plymouth Grove West.

The Homin male voice choir and the Orlyk dance ensemble were formed in 1949. These two cultural artistic groups promoted Ukrainian song and dance not only in Manchester and the North West but nationally and also internationally when participating in touring festivals in Europe and America. Both groups have appeared at the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen and won first prizes in their categories. Their ultimate accolade was tours of their native land of Ukraine in the early 1990s. The Petro Dnistrovyk junior School of Dancing was established in the 1970s, catering for the 5-15 age group. During the late 1970s a Ukrainian Youth Association choir Rusalka Dnistrova was established which likewise gained national and international recognition. At the same time the youth association dance ensemble Podilya was formed. During the 1990s the mixed choir Vidrodzhenya was formed and enjoyed national recognition.

On February 2nd, 2005 the Ukrainian Community Centre suffered a fire which destroyed the Concert Hall. The Ukrainian community wanted to replace the Concert Hall and in Mar 2007 formally applied for Planning Permission to rebuild the Concert Hall and re-establish the Cultural Centre which was completed in 2011.

Today the Manchester Cultural Centre provides facilities for the main community groups of AUGB including the social Club Dnipro, the youth organisation CYM, the Women's' Organisation, the Saturday School, the Ex-Servicemen's Organisation and the Pensioners Lunch Club. On the cultural side dance groups Orlyk, Podilya (CYM), junior dance group and the choir (Oberih / HOMIN / Mrija (mixed) / Volia (male)) are fully active. On the recreational level AUGB provides facilities for keep fit clubs. At a wider community level the centre provides a venue for Scots Guards and Pipers, Italian and other ethnic communities. Family events such as christenings, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and wakes currently continue for local and wider ethnic groups.

This description of the Manchester Ukrainian community is an edited version of the text found on the AUGB Manchester Branch page (text accessed 11 Dec 2019)


Photographs are catalogued by date order, followed by school anniversary booklet and oral history

Access Information

24 hours notice is required to view this collection. Material will then be accessible through Manchester Central Library Search Room, Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. To access this collection please: Contact the archive

Archivist's Note

Catalogue created by J. Robson, information and context provided by Z. Mitchell

Conditions Governing Use

Collection for private research and study purposes only. Please contact the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Centre if permission for other uses is required.

Appraisal Information

No appraisal, destruction or scheduling undertaken

Custodial History

Collected, stored and maintained by donor until passed to AIURRRC Archive


Further accruals are not expected

Related Material

Items held by Manchester Archives:

  • M789 Papers of Dariya Fedyk, Ukrainian teacher at the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian School in Manchester
  • M747 Minutes of the Manchester Branch of the Association of Ukrainian Women

Items held in the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Library:

  • Vic Satzewich, 'Ukrainian diaspora' (Routledge, 2002) Our Ref: IM6/SAT

Items held in the Manchester Central Library collection:

  • Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain Manchester Branch, ' Manchester Ukrainian community newsletter 2005-2006', Ref: q305.891791ASS(671)
  • Andrey Shilov (arr.), 'Russian and Ukrainian songs and dances' (Capriol, 1994) Ref: s863.2Sh441
  • Larysa Mitchell, 'Sources for the Ukrainian community in Manchester - a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Archives and Records Management, University of Liverpool', Ref: BR942.733004MIT(283)
  • Suzirya, 'Songs and Dance of the Ukraine', (CD) Ref: 017507
  • 'The Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian School in Manchester: 40th Anniversary. Commemorative pamphlet on the 40th anniversary of the school. Includes photographs, names of past pupils and a history of the school.', Ref: q371.829917SHK(010) (in Ukrainian)
  • 'Manchester Central Library also holds a number of books on the history and politics of Ukraine search and search

Geographical Names