A museum exploring migration into Britain over the centuries has been launched in London.

The Migration Museum shows how migration to the UK has been occurring for centuries and is not a modern concept. The exhibitions examine how the movement of people have shaped our country throughout time.

Barbara Roche, a former Minister of State for Immigration, chaired the launch at The Workshop in Lambeth last week. Robert Winder, an author, Lord Alf Dubs, famous campaigner for child refugees, and BBC news presenter George Alagiah spoke at the event.

Photography, videos, sculptures, drawings and objects from the ‘Calais Jungle’ have been used to document migration to and from the UK, showing the waves of movement from those seeking a better life or escaping persecution.

The migration project, housed in an old fire engine repair garage, will stage a series of events and displays. The next exhibition will show personal items that migrants bring with them to the UK, called ‘Keepsakes’.

The museum will be in Lambeth for a year after which Roche expects to hold it at a more permanent location. “This will be used as a springboard for a permanent museum,” she said at the launch.

Lord Alf Dubs, who introduced the Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Bill to bring unaccompanied refugee children to Britain last year, spoke of his own experience during the Second World War when he was brought to England on the Kindertransport at the age of six. During that time, the UK provided safety for nearly 10,000 mostly Jewish children.

Last year, the UK government agreed to welcome 3,000 lone refugee children but by March this year only 350 had been allowed in. The government then announced the scheme would be scrapped. It recently accepted an additional 140 children.