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Keywords:

  • Montserrat;
  • volcano;
  • migration;
  • memory;
  • home;
  • cultural geography

In recent years cultural geographers have turned their attention to issues of mobility, migration and diaspora. Yet the lives of those displaced by natural disaster remain under-researched. In July 1995, the Soufriere Hills Volcano began a devastating and drawn-out volcanic crisis on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat. The volcano was eventually to kill 19 people and see approximately two-thirds of the population leave the island, scattered throughout the Caribbean, the USA and UK. This article focuses on those now living their lives in Preston, in the north west of England. Drawing on an evening spent ‘under the coconut tree’ with members of the Preston Montserratian community, I seek to explore the embodiment of small island memories and efforts to keep Montserratian culture alive in the UK. As such, this article makes a contribution to literature on cultural geographies of migration, diaspora and ‘home’, and geographies of being and belonging.