Hometown - BME Group Reminiscence - Part 1

Memories of Hometown's - January 2009

By Lu Pearson

Photo:Eileen and Bill, her husband. Boxing Day 1947 - The Old Fish Market

Eileen and Bill, her husband. Boxing Day 1947 - The Old Fish Market

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Winnifred and Jim's Wedding - Eileen's sister, Eileen on the right

Winnifred and Jim's Wedding - Eileen's sister, Eileen on the right

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Yvonne's mother in Guyana

Yvonne's mother in Guyana

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Yvonne in Guyana at home

Yvonne in Guyana at home

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Photo:Yvonne in a party frock

Yvonne in a party frock

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Brighton's Black and Minority Ethnic's first group reminiscence heard participants recall childhood memories of their hometown's.

Eileen: Born 1927, Bermondsey, England

"I was the last of four. My mum and dad and mum's mum, my sister who was seven years older than me, my eldest brother who was five years older than me and my youngest brother who was two and a half years younger than me; we all lived together in the same house.

We lived on a lovely wide road. You could play out in the street in those days as there was no traffic. Often there were horses and carts. Trees lined the pavement and we had a small garden at the front of our house.

We had a bath on Friday nights. The tin bath used to come in from the garden. I was lucky, I was the first because I was the youngest - it was nice, hot soapy water- and everyone else went in after. Yes, I was the lucky one!

I had a lovely life as a child. We grew up all friends, not like today when they go around with knives and guns in their pockets. We used to go to St. James' Park and play in the church yard in the breaks. I was brought up on shredded wheat. I still love it."

Carlos: Born 1937, Kings Town, West Indies

"I was born in Kings Town in St. Vincent, a small island in the West Indies. The island is scarcely populated, very attractive and has lovely beaches. I grew up with five sisters. I was in third position.

My mother was at home; my father ran a dry goods and alcohol shop. I grew up in the shop helping my father, from age five plus. I used to sell behind the counter. People used to think I couldn't count the money because I was so young, but I was quite capable.

I attended local schools, schools open to the public. I was helping my father so was unable to go to the cinema like my friends. I was able to have enough time to enjoy myself as a child though, playing games etc. Then I went from primary to secondary school. At that time, education was high quality. I learnt English, Latin, French and Geography. At Sixth Form I taught all the above as well as History, and left after three years. I came to the U.K. in 1960. I studied at the University of Wales in Bangor."

Yvonne: Born 1940, Guyana, South America

"I grew up in a family of twelve: six sisters and five brothers. I was number seven. As children, we all wanted to play. We played outside. When the whole family came, we took the opportunity to play. Neighbours kept an eye out on the neighbourhood's kids.

Guyana's a country of many rivers. We had many opportunities to play in water. I couldn't swim. I was scared of water. I still can't swim.

My father wasn't around much. He was an engineer for the Singer company. We saw him once a year. We were close to grandma. We always knew we could run to grandma and get her favour when mum was ready to give us a good thump!

We grew flowers in our front garden and kept provisions such as sweet potatoes and yams at the back. We ate lots of fish, sweet potatoes and yams. Our grandmother was the greatest person for planting - she used to plant nuts and seeds from fruits we'd eaten: star apple, sapodilla and Chap fruit."

Sathi: Born 1944, Sri Lanka

"I'm from Ceylon (Sri Lanka now). I was born in 1944. I have five brothers. I had to play boys games most of the time - cowboy's games.

When I was a child and had a lovely life because of all the facilities available. We had a house by the seaside. I wasn't allowed to swim in the sea, but my brother's were in the Ceylon swimming team. I had a lot of younger brothers and sisters; a lot of babies to look after.

I went to normal school. I didn't like it. My brothers went to a top private school. At secondary school I went to a top convent school seven miles away. I had to take two buses to get there. My brothers were jealous that I could travel that way."

Cuthbert: Born 1944, Coleyville, Jamiaca

"I was born in the hills. Where I came from, runaway slaves would have been. My father was a farmer. We all worked in the fields (the boys). My mother was a post mistress in the post office... I lived there until I was sixteen.

The more sons a man had, the more wealthy his father would become because it meant more labourers. I was fortunate to be the youngest. My brothers had a harder time with all their work, but I had to do that later on of course. The girls ended up with a better education than the boys because they went to school regularly, whereas the boys had to work a lot in the fields.

We always had stuff smoking on the fire, like meat or root vegetables. I hated breakfast: cornmeal and banana porridge. We had it every day. On Sunday we had rice and peas for lunch."

This page was added by Lu Pearson on 27/04/2009.

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