LISTEN TO CARLTON DARRELL INTERVIEW HERE:
Carlton Darrell came to England from Bermuda by airplane in 1960 from a British colonial island that practiced segregation until 1959 when people were allowed to mix in public venues. He went to a Grammar School in Bermuda where he learnt about the British empire. He received a scholarship to study at a teacher’s college in Ottawa Canada where attitudes to colour was different and where he saw snow for the first time.
Once back in Bermuda he decided to go to the England, the “Motherland,” to expand his horizons. He arrived in England with no accommodation, job or friends to go to and found a boarding room in Kings Cross London. He tells stories of his journey to the UK, his first experience of fish and chips and his positive experience of attending church. He went to the labour exchange and was offered a job in Birmingham but wanted to be near London. He got a temporary job at Woodside Primary school in Thurrock as a school teacher to discover he was the only black member of staff. He eventually moved to Grays. While at the school he began running a lunchtime sports clubs and remained there for the next 20 years.
He told stories of living in rented rooms in Grays owned by an Indian landlord and sharing a house with Indians and then with Irish and Polish people. In the 1960’s there were not many black people in Grays but a group of eight teachers from Jamaica came to Thurrock who he befriended. Most nurses from the Caribbean worked at Orsett hospital. He told stories of Edna Ulett & Sybil Batson the first black midwives that came to Grays who created a place for Caribbean people to meet by cooking Caribbean meals and inviting people to dinner. It was where he met his wife, a Jamaican woman who was training to be a nurse. Later in his career he became a member of the Grays Roundtable and talked about the advantages it gave him, his achievements and his contribution to education and sports that earned him an MBE in 2010 He became a Head teacher at another school for 15 years and felt his experience of living in the UK has been positive.