LISTEN TO GLORIA WHYTE INTERVIEW HERE:
Gloria Whyte was born in Trinidad and left on the SS Ascania in 1963 to Southampton and went to live in Balham South London with her brother who had a flat where he and his wife and children lived. Shortly after, Gloria moved out and lived in rented rooms rented from Jamaican & Jewish landlords. She is thankful for their initiative to provide rooms for black people and explained, from her own experience why.
She initially found work via the Labour exchange and in 1966 she worked in Freemans Catalogue offices as an Olivetti punch machine operator (forerunner to computers). She told stories of racism in the workplace. She then worked in the Stock Exchange in London for 25 years from the 1970’s and was one of the first black employees.
In her experience she found life was exciting and fun amongst young black people in the 60’s and 70’s with the music, fashion and culture. She described the beauty contests she participated in, carnival band that she joined and her involvement in a drama group.
She married a lorry driver, left London and bought a house in East Tilbury near Tilbury Fort in 1975. She and her husband had set up a Lorry business in Tilbury but they have since divorced. She is now retired but enjoys travelling. She talks of her achievements and her message to young people is all about education. “…With education you can do anything!.”