Baltic people in the United Kingdom

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Baltic British
Total population
Baltic-born residents
4,363 Lithuanian-born (2001 Census)
74,000 Lithuanian-born (2010 ONS estimate)
4,275 Latvian-born (2001 Census)
32,000 Latvian-born (2010 ONS estimate)
2,005 Estonian-born (2001 Census)[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow
English, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Russian.
Christianity · Judaism • Protestantism
Related ethnic groups
Balts • Baltic Finns

Baltic people in the United Kingdom are those born or raised in the UK, or residents, who are of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian origin. Baltic nations are a part of the wider region of Northern Europe and cooperate with the Nordic countries.


Baltic countries together three countries on the south-eastern coast of the Baltic sea:

  •  Estonia - linguistically tied to Finland, while culturally and historically to Sweden and Denmark (Tallinn, the capital of the country, was built by the Danes), also Russia and Germany. Estonia is one of the least religious countries in Europe, before Lutheran Protestantism.[3]
  •  Latvia - linguistically and culturally tied to Lithuania and Germany, historically to all its neighbours as well as Sweden, Poland and Germany. Like in the UK, the major religion is Protestantism with a significant number of Catholics and atheists.
  •  Lithuania linguistically and culturally tied to Latvia, historically to Belarus, Poland, Ukraine and Germany, as well as Sweden, Denmark and Russia. Vast majority of the population is Catholic, with significant minority of atheists and Protestants. Once had an important Jewish community.

History, population and settlement[edit]

In the early 20th century, many Latvian and Lithuanian refugees began to settle in Glasgow and at its height in the 1950s, there were around 10,000 in the Glasgow area.[4]

During the first period of Estonian independence in the inter-war years, Great Britain, and, especially, London, became a magnet for many young people from Estonia wishing to learn English. This was made easier by a bi-lateral agreement drawn up by the British (Agreement A), which allowed foreigners to live with English families and get board and lodging in return for housekeeping duties. After the initial influx, the number of Estonian immigrants gradually reduced as people were more able to find work and, as a result, they gravitated to a few towns and cities, in particular London, Leicester and Bradford, with smaller communities in and around Bolton, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham, Bournemouth and some north of the border in Scotland. In the early 1950s, many Estonians left to live in other countries, leaving less than 6000 in Britain.[5]

Significant numbers of Baltic people moved to the UK in 1947 under a government backed scheme called 'Westward Ho'. The first group of Displaced Persons (DPs) from the British zone of occupation of Germany arrived in the UK in 1947, called the 'Balt Cygnets'.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on May 11, 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  2. ^ "Table 1.3: Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth, 60 most common countries of birth, April 2009 to March 2010". Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2010.  Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Guardian (2006-01-23). "Lithuanians in Glasgow". Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  5. ^ UK Estonian Embassy (2008). "The Estonian community in the UK". Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  6. ^ McDowell, Linda (2008). "On the Significance of Being White: European Migrant Workers in the British Economy in the 1940s and 2000s". In Dwyer, Claire; Bressey, Caroline. New Geographies of Race and Racism. Aldershot: Ashgte. pp. 51–64. ISBN 978-0-7546-7085-8. 


  • Burrell, Kathy and Panayi, Panikos: Histories and Memories: Latvians and Their History in Britain [1]
  • Budriuniene, Jolanta: Regeneration of the Lithuanian Emigrant Press: Fifteen Years' Experience [2]

External links[edit]