The houses looked like factories

alfrida sml

Alice was born in Jamaica in 1937 she travelled to the UK when she was 24 years old.








What were your first impressions of England when you came?

Oh my gums a me! Oh my gums a me! Oh dear, oh dear. I was very, very disappointed. My gums, cuz West Indian, we're used to the sun, it's a completely, erm culture shock, phew! It was so bleak and rain and, to me it was cold and then, I came here in June and then to me it was cold, especially in the evenings and nights you know. Cuz we're used to warm, sun, warm. Our coldest, I mean very coldest day in Jamaica could be like your hottest. Ooh gosh, yes, so it was like a shock, you know, the weather and of course the houses. Kingston or the city, there were, the houses there were sort of nicely built and very pleasing to the eye, painted from outside different colours we used to colours and erm, yeah, but when we come here and look at the houses and these great big monstrosities of a red brick and ooh, I thought they were all factories and to make it worse there was these, these chimney pots up on the top. So I thought, Oh my gums there's factories everywhere. And then I realised, I was, I was, you know after a while, I realised it was not factories but that's the chimney to let the smoke out cuz then, most people would burn coal, it was, it's not even like now, you're thinking of fifty odd years when England. There was not a lot of central heating, not in everybody's hou, everybody's house you know umm, yes so err, it was a little bit of a culture shock. -I can imagine- Take some getting used to. Take a lot of adjustment, because then you have to learn to do things all over in a different way, dress different, you know, put warm clothes on. When you get up in Jamaica you just have your shower and you put your things on, just, just your normal dress and, you know, but now you have to learn when to wear a coat and when to wear a scarf and wrap up yourself properly and yes, it was actually, it was a little bit of a shock.

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