LISTEN TO HAMILTON WILLIAMS INTERVIEW HERE:
Hamilton Williams was born in Diamonds Village then moved to Belvedere in St Vincent. He was from a family of eight siblings. He worked as a school teacher then joined the St Vincent police force where he worked for four years before emigrating to England in 1961. The country is still a British colony. Good news about England encouraged him to leave his home but once he got to England he said “it’s a different thing.” He was highly respected as a policeman in St Vincent but the pay was low. Others in the police force also left the service to go to England. The lure of England meant all ranks, both unskilled and highly skilled workers left the island.
Once in London he got a job working with the general post office (GPO) and transferred to BT (British Telecommunications) where he worked over 25 years before retiring.
His Journey to England was on the SS Ascania that docked in Italy. He then travelled on the boat train to Waterloo or Victoria. He talked about his clothes for the journey and the atmosphere of anticipation and excitement amongst his fellow passengers.
He lived in Hackney and got married in 1962. He rented rooms from Jamaican live in landlords who would share their homes with other black tenants. Hamilton felt fortunate to have found a room for him and his wife even with shared facilities.
He talked about his work as a security door man, his role, the whistle, his uniform and experiences of racism and tension at work. He told of an incident when he was spat on in the street by white youths and how it made him feel.
He and his wife had raised a family in the UK but decided tin 1989 to take retirement to return back home to St Vincent. He had built a house and resettled into life in St Vincent where he became a pastor. He regarded it as a happy time. Hamilton felt he had contributed to the country. His wife sadly died in 2015 so he returned to England but would like to go back to his homeland. He expressed concern at the youth in Britain today who seems angry due to lack of success. He talked of his own difficulty to succeed due to barriers but talked of how he had to make the effort. He blames the authorities for being “far from the truth.”