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The GRIP Windrush exhibition is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to capture the stories and images of some of our West Indian elders in Haringey and give their voices a lasting legacy 


Telling Our Stories  


1.Keith Phillip Koylass 

Born 1960, in Trinidad and Tobago.

In 1966, I embarked on a voyage to England aboard the ship “Estonia ''. Initially the prospect filled me with excitement but upon arrival a wave of trepidation washed over me. I had initially promised myself that I would come to the UK to absorb as much as I could and then return to the West Indies. However, circumstances dictated otherwise. I endeavoured to adapt to this new land attempting to recreate familiar Customs from back home such as using my slingshot for hunting. 


My awareness of racism grew when I encountered signs and notices, yet I remained resolute, staying true to my identity, Always prepared to defend myself.  Navigating life here requires fortitude and determination, traits I honed through martial arts training. Although physical altercations were not my preference it contributes significantly to my holistic well-being. 


The accomplishments in my life were dedicated to my mother, Olive, and my brother Kelvin. From my mother, a senior nurse in Trinidad, I learned the essence of determination. My brother Kelvin, a member of the RAF, instilled in me a sense of manhood, enabling me to surmount challenges with unwavering focus. He is a stalwart force in our family, A man of action, resolute in his pursuits. 


Post-education, I ventured into the field of design, and worked for “Acrylic designs”. Here, I conceptualised an array of products, from light bulbs to picture frames. The onset of the oil crisis prompted a career shift, leading me to roles in mechanics, men's fashion sales, and managing a petrol station. 


Gratitude in my heart for a friend who introduced me to martial arts. it's not only became a form of self-discovery but also served as the crucial tool in managing my emotions, particularly anger. It fostered a mindset wherein I came to understand that the true worth of life lies in the impact on one-self. 


While I was not born with impaired vision, I've been gradually losing my sight. The shift began to manifest around the age of 35, as distance became indistinct, and a pervasive blurriness affected the nerves at the back of my head. 


With each passing day, I face the challenges of diminished sight with courage and resolve, cherishing the memories of a life richly lived. I find pleasure in using my mind to engage in deep conversations and teaching people about the true meaning of life. 



2.Sharon White 

Born in UK 

I was born in Harrow a few years after my parents arrived here from Barbados. 


My mother was a nurse and my father was a bus driver. 

My mother arrived here before my father to train as a nurse and he followed not long after and passed his driving test to become a London bus driver. 


My parents were married at Wood Green Civic Centre and have lived in Haringey for over fifty years, first in Haringey, on Fairfax Road, then onto Chettle Court and finally in Tottenham, where they have lived in the same house for over forty years until my father sadly passed away in 2016. My mother still lives there. 

Our childhood was a mix of Barbados at home, with stories of my parents' life in Barbados as children and young adults, with fishcakes, bakes, macaroni cheese, rice and peas. When you stepped in the house it was that and then London life when we stepped out of the door. 


When I first travelled to Barbados to see my grandfather, uncles and cousins, I felt at home straight away, through my parent's stories. 


My sister and two brothers and I went to school at Rokesly Junior school then onto Highgate Wood School and I have worked in Haringey for years. I moved from Haringey to live in Leyton and Spain, but I always return to Haringey, there are many precious childhood memories here. 


3. Makeda Coaston 

Born 1950, in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 

I hail from the vibrant city of Cincinnati, Ohio, where on the 7th of December 1950, I took my first breath. My roots run deep, as my family’s history traces back to the very beginnings. 


In the early 80s, I embarked on a transformative journey across the Atlantic to England, driven by a thirst for knowledge. There, with my Bachelor of Arts degree, I immersed myself in the work of arts and culture. Soon after, I found myself at the heart of the Greater London Council, where I lent my expertise as an advisor, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape. I was the Cultural Director for MASS, Minority Art Advisory Services. 


A particular highlight was the privilege of bringing the legendary Angela Davis to the vibrant streets of London. 


Additionally, I curated an exhibition celebrating the invaluable contributions of Jessica and Eric Huntley. Their legacy is now preserved in the esteemed London Metropolitan Archives, a testament to their enduring impact. Their bookshop in Ealing served as a hub for political activism., an influence that continues to ripple through the ages. 


Since the 80s, Haringey has been my cherished abode, a place where I've been instrumental in fostering support for black groups. It is here that I've truly found my home. 


My adventures have taken me far and wide, from the captivating landscapes of numerous African countries such as Senegal, and the spirited Yoruba city. These journeys have enriched my perspective and forged connections that transcend borders. 


With a heart that knows no boundaries, I fight on in this next chapter of my remarkable journey. 



4. Josiah 

Pupil of the Haringey Learning Partnership 



5. Neville Gilles 

Born in Barbados, WI 

I came to England in 1960 when I was 21 years old. I, like many of my people from Barbados, was drafted to work on the London Transport system. At that time, England was grappling with the aftermath of the war, facing a severe shortage of both men and women to help rebuild the country. 


I felt excited when I arrived. I went on an intensive training program and got a job at Wandsworth depot (bus 28) , I then got transferred to Wood Green ( bus W3) .. I loved my job and am very proud of what I achieved. I remember one day a young English boy asked me if my skin colour would rub off on him if he touched my hand. I told him “no”. There were lots of disagreements and strange things that happened on that bus route but I enjoyed the daily adventures.  


On my 33rd birthday, I celebrated a momentous occasion - my wedding day.  

I married my wife on my 33rd Birthday. It remains one of the most cherished memories of my life.  


As time went on, I got the position of being the Union Rep and I was responsible for representing people of all nationalities. I remember representing English men who did not want me to be speaking on their behalf and then when I won their cases, they became my friends. Life in England has taught me so many things. We are all the same really, it’s the system that is unfair. I have made lots of friends and seen a lot of things and now at 83 years old I can truly say that I am British to the core now and love England. 



6. Nefetitii Gayle 

Born 1955, in Jamaica, WI 

In 1959, At the tender age of four, I embarked on a journey To England with my mother, my sister who had just welcomed a new baby into the world, and my two younger brothers. As I climbed the steps off the boat, the vast expanse of the sea stretched before me, a peanut bar clenched tightly in my hand. This voyage marked the beginning of a new chapter, a chapter that led us to my father, who awaited us in the heart of Brixton, on Acre Lane. 


The boat safely docked in the bustling port of Southampton. And from there, our family set out on a path filled with trials and tribulations. Now, I find myself in Haringey, a testament to the resilience of a family with limited options, navigating a new life in this foreign land. Yet, it is here that we forge our destiny, finding strength in the face of adversity, and cherishing the hope for a brighter future. 


7. Ursula Joseph 

Born in England 

I was born in 1967. I am the parent of nine wonderful children; five girls and four boys. My journey began in Woolwich, a place close to my heart. Life has presented its fair share of challenges, but today, I stand in a place of contentment. Surrounded by cherished friends and in a new, welcoming environment, I revel in the simple joys of a wardrobe filled with clothes. In Haringey, I’ve found my sanctuary. Here, I feel like a beautiful butterfly, alive. This, right here, is where I belong. 


8. Lydia Robinson 

Born 1959, in Jamaica, WI 
I was six years old when I came to England. I came with my brother Winston on the BOAC flight. It was so scary seeing the clouds and going into them and I could not eat the food. The flight seemed to take a lifetime to reach its destination. When I arrived at the airport in London, I saw two strange men standing in front of me. Winston ran towards one of them and hugged him. I was surprised because that was my father. My father was stronger than me. I gave him a hug and we all went to my new home in London.   


I've had a good life in London. I went to school with lots of English girls and boys, who were my friends. I will go to their house and see that they live differently from myself and a large lot of my family. I have four sisters and five brothers. My first job was at a factory as a machinist. From there completed many courses and now work in care.   


I have three grown up children, 5 grandchildren and a great- grandchild. I have travelled back to Jamaica six times. I love Jamaica so much, but my home has been made here in Haringey. I don't regret coming to England one bit because my life has been blessed. 



9. Jeff Greaves 

Born 1967, in Barbados, WI 
I was born on the vibrant island of Barbados. When I first set foot in England, I was just a young boy aged 8, torn away from the golden sands, crystal-clear sea, and the easy-going lifestyle of my beloved homeland. Starting life in England was challenging, but I knew I had to work hard to make a life here. I have done a mixture of different jobs throughout my career. I was a cook for over 13 years, drove lorries and did mentoring. Now, Haringey has become my cherished home. 


In the early days, I couldn't ignore the presence of racism in England. It cast a shadow on my experience, as stark contrast to the warmth and acceptance I was accustomed to in Barbados. Over time, however, I've witnessed a positive shift, especially in London, Haringey, which I am proud to call my home. As people from various backgrounds mingle and connect, the boundaries of prejudice have started to crumble, giving way to a more inclusive and harmonious society. This gives me hope for a brighter, more unified future, even though I know there is a long way to go. 


Of course, I miss Barbados and dream to go back again before I drop dead!!! 






10. Veronica Mckenzie 

Born in England 
My name is Veronica Mckenzie. Growing up I was very aware of my Caribbean heritage as my parents socialised a lot with their Caribbean friends and kept up with things such as the pardner. I remember a man coming to the house every so often with a suitcase full of clothes, towels etc which my mum could pay off over time. There was so much trust and community back then. I really miss those days. Now when I think of my parents and the others from the Windrush Generation, I can see how brave they were and how they made the best of life despite the harsh environment. I am proud of them and proud to be the child of Windrush parents. 


11. Tom & Ann Pearce 
My name is Tom Pearce. I was born in Romford, Essex, in 1952. I come from a large family of seven. I had 4 sisters and 2 brothers. In 1974, in Barking, there was a house fire which … put me in hospital. It devastated my family, losing a brother and two sisters.  My life has been troubled, but now I am happily married to Ann Pearce, whom I met in a sweet shop in Dalston near the railway station about 22 years ago. I have been married to her for 21 years. We have 3 children plus 2 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. I lost a daughter from my first marriage. 

This time last year I was in hospital for six weeks, fighting for my life, and thankfully I know I am on the mend. Every Friday morning I go to Code1 Club to help me get through my ills. Being part of this group has been a pleasure and I learn more about myself and share a lot. I understand the Windrush Generation a lot more and had enjoyed taking part in this exhibition. Bevali and Paul have given me responsibilities, like filming, photography and printing.  


I have found a new life again and now I like doing photography, artwork, playing music and flower arranging.  


Ann was born in Nottingham in 1947. She loves art, reading and word searches.  







12. Simon (Blingwear) Tomlinson 

Growing up as the grandson of West Indian migrants from the Windrush Generation in North London, I was immersed in a vibrant cultural blend. Our home celebrated Caribbean traditions, music, and cuisine, fostering a strong sense of pride in our roots. As a graffiti artist, I found inspiration in this cultural fusion. This upbringing not only instilled the importance of preserving our culture but also deepened my appreciation for London’s multicultural diversity. It was a unique and unforgettable chapter where my graffiti art became a testament to our rich community. 



13. Lorna Taylor 

Born in Jamaica, WI 

My name is Lorna Taylor and I came to join my parents in the UK. It was on 5th September 1967. Me and my twin Sister Norma came by plane alone and an Air Hostess looked after us on the BOAC Plane. Our Father picked us up in a black cab and he took us to our new home to meet our Mum and 5 other children they had. One brother and 4 sisters. We wanted to go back to Jamaica to my Granny as we didn't know these children and it took a while to mix in with them. We were 10 years old and had to go to local primary school to mix in with kids we don't know. It was a struggle as some of the English kids' parents told their kids to say these cruel words to us. **N**** n**** pull the trigger.. bang bang bang**... and these kids told us that their wicked parents told them to be unkind to us. They used to hit and pull our hair, spit on, and kick us and we fought back and they stopped as our hits became fists!. 


My Grandmother was our teacher and mentor as home life was chaotic with kids noise and looking after young ones. I used to write to my granny to tell her how things were at home. Granny told us to help out indoors and do our schoolwork as she said that it will pay off when we grow up and she was right. Some English people, the Cockneys, would say to us and other people from other countries, “go back on your banana boats and jungle and swing with your monkeys”  when there were arguments in Chapel Market and Ridley Markets and sometimes racial fights with skin heads, bad boys and men in East London.  


I couldn't wait to become an adult to get a job to help myself and my family to have an easier life. Me and Sister Norma saved up with older brothers who also came to the UK to join our parents and sent Mum and Dad to visit my Granny in Jamaica to thank her for looking after us. My parents came to the UK in March 1959. We spent 8 years away from our parents and it was hard adjusting to family life at first but we overcame and became our own person.  


I love the seaside so I would save up and take my siblings who were born here on coach trips with our Mum sometimes to various seaside towns. Me and twin Sister Norma did well with our own family and coped by living by our own means. I visited my grandmother quite a few times to stay and shared special times with her and she died in 1994 aged 86. I took my family to Jamaica to meet other family members living there and we keep in touch every week. I am now a grandmother - also my twin sister Norma - and we are enjoying life with our families here in the UK.   


14. Pupil from Haringey Learning Partnership 



15. Lorna Shannon 

Born 1951, Ireland 
My mum had 7 children. I am the second youngest. At the age of 7, I got polio, and had to stay in hospital for three years. When I was well enough, I was sent to a convent school. I did not like it much. I had to fight to catch up on the missing years of schooling and am proud that I qualified in bookkeeping. 


After my schooling I travelled to Dublin looking for work but there was nothing around, so I came to London in 1976, when I was 25 years old. I worked in Old Street for years and Park Royal. At 28 years old I got married and had 3 children. 


I have had a busy work life and now volunteer at various centres and the church. I love Haringey and all the friends that I have made over the years. When Covid struck I felt so isolated and sad, but being amongst a friendly group like this made me bounce back to life and I can honestly say that everyone in my Friday group is like family to me. 







16. Peggy Mckenzie 

Born in Jamaica, WI 

I came to London when I was a child of 10 years old.  I came to join my parents from Jamaica. On the 4th October 1963.  I did see smoke coming up from the chimneys like many other people did. This was funny for me. It made me think that there was going to be a big adventure. I was always laughing and will always find joy in life. Haringey has been good to me, but it is definitely my home. 



When me come pon de BOAC in ‘63, me inna small cabin 

Me neva get no food so me tek out me bula cake an eat it 

Oh dis ya sky mek me feel sick,  

the pink ice cream mek me vomit 

Thanks to God me did reach, 

The lady hold me hand and bring me down dem steps to see me mudda. 


“Mudda me nah want no coat  

Fish and chips for dinner? 

Me cold me want my granny curry goat  

Me nah want fi stay at England with the grey  

and the funny smells 

Boi … Dis ya place favour hell. 



17. John Asamoah-Tieku 

Born Ghana, Africa 

  “Bridging Continents: A Journey of Resilience” 


In 1985, I undertook an odyssey that spanned continents, starting in Ghana and culminating in Jamaica, before ultimately landing on the shores of London. A mere 31 years old, I disembarked from a British Airways flight, laden with dreams and aspirations. 


I was separated from my children in Ghana, my heart yearned for their presence. It was not until I could secure their journey that my family began to find its footing in this new, foreign land. Today, my daughter stands beside me, having embraced London as her own, while my son remains a beacon of strength in our homeland. 


Hackney became my sanctuary, where the warmth of a friend's embrace provided solace. Together, we navigated the twists and turns of a city that was both inviting and unforgiving, leaving an incredible mark on the narrative of my life. 


Securing employment was a monumental hurdle, yet I persevered, donning the mantle of a Kitchen Porter. In the humble domain of pots and pans, I carved a space for myself, ever grateful for the opportunity to contribute. 


Eighteen years on, I stand before you a British Citizen, the culmination of a journey marked by tenacity and the unwavering pursuit of a better life. Being in this exhibition is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities that emerge when one dares to dream. 


I am happy that I can travel back to my roots, to the lands that witnessed my beginnings.  



18. Jill Raines 

Born in Whittington Hospital, London 

My first memory of living in Haringey is our first winter returning from Australia when I was 3½. It was bitter cold, snow everywhere, and thick fog where you couldn't see your hands out in front of you. 


By the time I started school we had moved to Falkland Road. We lived over the road, just down from North Harringay School. Every morning the doorbell rang and I'd rush to answer the door, wondering who was first. This repeated until half my class were in our living room dancing, singing and laughing. Like a mother duck with her chicks, Mum would lead us safely across the road and deliver us to school. 


The wonderful thing is the diversity. Friends first and second generation whose families originated from Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Ghana, Jamaica and more. 


Looking back, I realise how special it was. Each child's parents had to trust mine to protect them. I was oblivious to the prejudice around us because mine were so inclusive. I experienced so many cultures and religions because of it. 




19. Diana Roy 

Born in UK 
My name is Diana and I have lived in Tottenham for over 25 years. My parents came to England from Jamaica and Europe around 70 years ago and I was born and brought up in Yorkshire. As a bid writer I work with lots of local organisations and residents, and one thing I love about Tottenham is the sense of community and the diversity and resilience of the people who make it their home. 



20. Bevali Mckenzie 

Born 1968, in Haringey, London 

I'm Bevali, and my name is unique as I am. I'm about exploring the extraordinary, which is why I changed my name spelling. My parents were part of the Windrush Generation, arriving here in the early 60s. They moved around a bit before finding their home at 29 Forest Garden in Tottenham, where I came into the world. Alongside me, there’s my brother Paul and sisters Jennifer, Patricia, Veronica and Dawne. I am very proud of my family and all that they have become in London. 


My parents Florence Johnson and Wesley Mckenzie worked hard throughout their lives. My mother worked five jobs every day and my dad worked on the buses. I cannot remember my mother complaining about work, she just always had a smile on her face and soldiered on. Sadly, my mother died when she was 50 years old. I admire her ethics and her determination to buy her own house and improve our quality of life. She was the true love of my life. 


I have such great memories of our living room as the place where we would hear stories from the “elders” about Jamaica. They would exaggerate about things they did over some rum and dominoes and make us laugh. Funny, I cannot remember the struggles, but I know they were there. Back in the 70s growing up it felt like we were all in it together, getting by. 

Growing up in Haringey has been a fascinating journey. It's a place that's shaped me, allowing me to flourish as a community activist. I've dedicated myself to causes like advocating for the freedom of the “Tottenham Three’ and defending our rights. Through working with both young and elderly members of our community, I've been privileged to hear incredible stories. It's in this vibrant community that I truly belong, and Haringey has become my home.  

Yet, there's a part of me that yearns for a sunnier climate, envisioning it as my ultimate destination, a place where I can firmly plant my roots.  

21 (left to right in image) 
Germaine St Louis 

Born 1940, in Grenada, WI 

My country of birth is in Grenada, West Indies, which is based in the Caribbean.  

Grenada is a small island, very beautiful with a lot of mountains and jobs but the wages were very low. The people are very friendly, and I always had to stop for a chat. There are plenty of food trees, mangoes and bananas, oranges, grapefruits and prunes. There are also a lot of spices in Grenada and our island is known to be the island of the spices, ‘Spice Island’ and beautiful beaches all over.  


I came to the UK in 1960, I left Grenada on the 4th September 1960 and arrived in the UK on the 18th of September 1960. I came by boat. I don’t remember the name of the boat, but we had arrived at Southampton. My first thoughts were that it was very miserable and cold, if having the chance to return to Grenada I would.  


There were these big buildings with smoke coming out of the chimneys. We were taken by train from Southampton to Waterloo, from there I was given directions on which way to go to get to my cousins which was in Turnpike Lane.  


My first Job in England was in a laundry which was based in Hornsey. I worked there for a while but had changed jobs down the line to Barratt's sweet factory in Mayes Road, N22.  


I had 7 children, but, sadly, my youngest son died in 2016. Haringey is my home, I’ve been living there all my life, it's my home, all my children were also born in Haringey and schooled.   


We did have plans to return back to Grenada later down the line, but unfortunately my husband had passed away in 2011. I decided I was just going to stay and live in London due to the fact most of my relatives in Grenada had also passed away, and my old friends had immigrated to Canada.   


One place that I used to go to regularly was the Wood Green Library, I spent a lot of time there with my children when they were small, and I enjoy sitting quietly reading a book.   


My favourite spot in Haringey which I loved was Wood Green Shopping City, my favourite food spot to eat at was the global buffet which was called Moma before.  


My dream is to go on a Caribbean cruise and go to different restaurants to try out different foods. I love eating out and people love to describe me as a foodie.   


Daphne Gilchrist 

Born in Jamaica, WI 


I came to England in 1964. Travelling from the airport I noticed a lot of smoke coming from buildings. I said to my husband (believing the buildings were factories), “I will get a job soon so that I can help my family back in Jamaica.” 

He said to me, “What you see is the thing that they burn to keep the place warm.” After I reached home, I saw the same thing day after day because we all used coal fires and paraffin lamps for heating in those days. I asked him to send me back home to Jamaica because I was afraid of the cold. He said no because I’m here to stay. So now I’m praying that one day I will return back home for good. 

I love you all because I am grateful for the experience. 


Mrs Felicia Bose Peter-Thomas 

Born in Nigeria 
I remember growing up in Nigeria and the importance of family values inculcated in us then. This is why my background could be compared to the Windrush Generation, having listened to many of the stories from them. Hard work, integrity and fashionable life is assumed by everyone without doubt or protest. I visited the UK as a tourist a couple of times before finally migrating with my ailing husband over 20 years ago. I was completely over the moon to live in such a great orderly and law-abiding society. 


The only hard time was getting a full-time teaching position due to my having had my Master's degree from Lagos, though it was successfully converted to NARRIC British Masters Taught Degree. Life here has been good for me and my family, though I'm yet to get all my children to join me. I'm still proud of my Nigerian background and have been given all the support necessary to continue to be part of that culture as a British Citizen. 









22. Eileen Corlis 

Born in Antigua, WI 
My name is Eileen Corlis.  I came to the United Kingdom at the age of seventeen.  I arrived at Heathrow Airport 11th January 1965. On my arrival it was very cold and gloomy. As we came into London, I noticed smoke coming out of the chimneys, I asked my mother why there was so much smoke? She replied that they were houses. I then asked her if they lived in factories?  Because I have never seen anything like that. I hated England so much that I cried for three weeks. I asked my mother to send me back home. She told me if I have the money to pay my fare back then I could go. When I arrived in England we lived in Islington. 


I got married at the age of 22. My husband and I moved to Tottenham. We have five children who are all grown up with children of their own. However, when I look back on how I grew up in Antigua I am aware of my heritage. My parents socialised a lot having picnics on the beaches as we have 365 beaches. We went to church on Sundays, dressed up in our Sunday best, coming home to lunch. Having dinner at 4pm everything was fresh and we had beautiful weather.  


I can remember my mother throwing pardner we call it “box money”. Salesmen used to come to our houses with their suitcase full of clothes and household items which my mother would purchase.  I really missed those days, now when I look back at my mother and all the others from the Windrush Generations I can see how brave they were to leave their homes in the Caribbean and come to a country so far away and made the best of life despite the hostile environment and all the insults they put up to with. There were notices on windows stating NO IRISH, NO BLACKS, AND NO DOGS.   


However, I am very proud of them and proud to be a child of the Windrush GENERATIONS. 



23.  Amelia 

Pupil of the Haringey Learning Partnership 






24. Livingston (LG) Gilchrist 

Continuing the ‘Gilly’ Tradition 

I vividly remember the time when our great grandmother 'Taan-Tou' told my brother Derrick and I "yu a go a H'Englan'." 


Sadly, we had to leave Taan-Tou and our other brother (Barry) behind and from the time we left our beloved home in Goodwill, Jamaica 1968... we cried. Derrick often reminds me that he cried from the time the plane took off at Montego Bay to the time it touched down at Heathrow (the poor BOAC flight crew must have had a few more of us children who travelled on their own and cried all the way across the Atlantic). 


First impressions when we got to England was the realisation that we had a bigger family than previously thought (three other siblings). It took a while to adjust, finding it difficult and restrictive playing indoors and 'only' in our front/ back yard, where previously (in Jamaica's countryside) we didn't have those boundaries. 

As we grew older, my brothers and I proudly took on the nickname 'Gilly', following in our father's footsteps. 


On reflection, like my mother and brother, I am grateful for the opportunities coming to the UK provided and knowing that our 'home in Jamaica' is always there to welcome us; we are privileged to have the best of both. 

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