Interview with Alton Watkins about his move to England in the 1950s and his life in London and Grays. [00:00:] His early life in Trinidad; missed out on chance to go to the Olympics as a long-distance runner; time spent in an orphanage; his mother's struggle to provide for her family; his desire to move to England to improve his education; his work as a printer in Trinidad; ease of finding work in printing shops in England. [05:05:] Saving up the money for his fare to England by rearing pigs; former head teacher who told him stories about England; his journey to England by ship [in 1956 on the SS Lucania]; what he wore for the journey; getting sea-sick; stop at Genoa, Italy, seeing television for the first time, seeing poor White people for the first time; poor accommodation on the ship. [11:50:] Train from Genoa to Calais, sleeping on luggage racks; arrival in London, being greeted by a large crowd of West Indians; first impressions of London; sub-letting a room then staying with friends from Trinidad; getting work as a printer at non-union firms; taking evening classes to gain teaching qualification. [16:00:] Social life in London; going to parties; adapting to life in England, different foods; problems caused by Teddy Boys, attacks on West Indians; further racial disharmony spread by Enoch Powell; story of racial attack on him at work from another printer; other examples of racism directed at him. [21:15:] Gaining teaching post at Ockendon Courts; move to Grays; next teaching job at Torrells School in Grays; acting as Year Tutor; supply work after his retirement; opportunity to travel on coach tours after his retirement; examples of racism encountered at school from children and parents; supportive head teacher. [26:55:] Reflections on his life; sense of accomplishment and contentment; his contribution to society as a teacher; satisfaction of seeing former students grown up with jobs; reflects on his original plan to return to Trinidad after five years; now settled in England as his home.

CountryUnited Kingdom
CollectionEssex Record Office
(Copyright Evewright Arts Foundation; educational use only)
Repository Page
Web Page
Subject Termsmigration, immigration, Windrush, West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, education, printing, racism,
ProviderEuropeana Sounds