Welcome to Serbian/Croatian London online!
Through these pages you can follow London’s Serbian/Croatian language and culture trail and find out about the Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian communities in London. We expect more information to be added to the pages in the future.
The notable presence of the peoples emigrating from what we know today as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro to Britain dates back to 19th century. However, we know that some South Slavs were coming to Britain even before then. One such traveller was the prominent Serbian writer Dositej Obradovic.
You can find Dositej’s account of his arrival to London in 1742 below.
The Life and Adventures of Dimitrije Obradovic´, Who as a Monk was Given the Name Dositej: Written and Published by Himself./translated from Serbian, and edited, with an introduction, by George Rapall Noyes. University of California Publications in Modern Philology 39. Berkeley; Los Angeles, 1953.
" Concerning my feelings the next day, when I gazed from an elevation at the awe-inspiring greatness of the limitless expanse of London, the most beautiful and the most famous city in the world, I cannot utter a single syllable. The Irish priests and I had the front seat in the great English coach, but when we left Canterbury I yielded my place to another man and took a seat on the roof of the coach, where it is comfortable riding when the weather is fine, so that I might have a better view in all directions. And I crossed myself and marvelled in what a happy hour my dear mother had conceived me. Where am I now and who am I? It seemed to me that I had been born again into a new world. I found it hard to understand that I was the same person who a few days earlier had walked with my neighbour Nika Putin from the Banat, following the course of the Begej, into Srem, and thence with Atanasije, wearing red haiduk sandals, in great haste along the Danube into Croatia. Now on the roof of the coach like this – which you can get into only by a ladder – I sat like a Roman dictator and, after overcoming fierce poverty and that grim oppressor, want, I entered, as in triumph following a victory, a more glorious and a more beautiful city than Rome ever was, accounting myself quite as fortunate merely because I looked upon it and was entering into it, just as if that whole beautiful London belonged to me