MANY people are unaware that it was Britain's Bangladeshi community who pioneered the nation's curry culture which has an epicentre in the Midlands.

A new exhibition by Soul City Arts called Knights of the Raj has documented the heritage and history of Bangladeshi-owned ‘Indian’ restaurants in Birmingham and the inspirational stories of the people behind them.

The pioneers of this industry were first generation immigrants whose stories have previously not been collected, preserved and shared.

The exhibition is also an opportunity to hear and experience perhaps for the last time the direct testimonies of some of those pioneers of the trade.

Mohammed Ali MBE, artistic director of Soul City Arts, said: "The untold stories of the Indian restaurant trade give us a fascinating insight into the curry trade.

"The exhibition brings out unexpected and previously undocumented stories of struggle and conflict, determination and perseverance, and hope and aspiration.

"Through the Knights of the Raj project, I’ve gained a new appreciation for who my father was and the sacrifices his generation made.

"We’ve captured stories that were in danger of being lost forever. If you don’t know the stories of who your parents and grandparents were, how do you get to really know who you are."

Soul City Arts has unearthed fascinating stories captured and recorded through interviews. There have also been donations of archive material from workers, families and communities.

Over the course of the exhibition, Soul City Arts will also be hosting a series of intimate debates and in conversation events which will provide opportunities for visitors to meet the people behind the stories.

Knights of the Raj will run at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until January 7.