From Barbados to England in the 1950s – Adventure, racism and a new life on the buses.

“Don’t Forget to Keep Your Chest Warm”

Like thousands of other young Bajans and Caribbean folks in the 1950s, George Applewhaite left his family and headed for “Mother England” to work as a bus conductor. And like most of his contemporaries, Applewhaite found that not all Brits were happy to see their cities “invaded” by people with dark skin and strange accents.

Fifty-six years later the pensioner looks back on his adventures and memories of the those times in his new book Don’t Forget to Keep Your Chest Warm. For his next book, he’s writing about his childhood in Watts Village.

“Mr Applewhaite said many people have told him his stories shone a light on an era when people acted in a more sociable and generous manner towards each other, but some tales reveal the occasional racial prejudice he encountered in Oxfordshire.”

… from the Oxford Mail article Book inspired by lifetime of experiences

Also Interesting…

London Transport revisits the experiences of some of the recruits from the Caribbean who joined the organisation in the 1950s.


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Immigration, Race

12 responses to “From Barbados to England in the 1950s – Adventure, racism and a new life on the buses.

  1. algernon phillips

    An absolute, MUST READ, for those of us children and grandchildren of the pre- 1920’s immigration to the US and Canada. Did the repeal of the Immigration Restriction Act and Johnson-Reed Act ( led by Brooklyn rep Emmanuel Celler) somehow influence ‘ our ‘ move to Britain or did they just need ‘us’ for the moment. The ‘GREETING’ was the same – Racism

  2. The British Empire

    Its firstly all about exploitation of cheap labour and then stay in your place.

    Over the centuries, the Brits did it to the Scots, Welsh , Irish and everyone else they colonized.

    Mind you the British Empire was at its peak about 100 years ago although the elitism and class system still somehow exists?

  3. Anonymous

    I have 100,000 Bajans to export right now!
    Who want dem? Speak up now.. quick, while stocks last.

    Imagine Barbados with ‘only’ 200,000 people, nuh?
    Life wud be sooo sweet!

  4. just like to know

    Is it any different in Barbados? It may not be white/black skin, but racism is rift here,also (classism) if that’s a word. I am not barbadian, but I am married to a barbadian, and I have encountered more racism here than I did in England, and by the way I am not English.

  5. The man wiv no name!!

    Indeed, the exodus was so succesful there aren’t any conductors on England’s buses anymore.

    ‘Just Like to Know’, please don’t say that. According to many very serious Barbadians, “there isn’t any racism/shadeism in Barbados”!! LOL!!

  6. Johnny Postle

    Racism has always been alive and kicking in Barbados, particulary amongst the whites. Many if not most do not like blacks

  7. AND all de Black LOVE the WHITES .. OR maybe just WHITE WOMEN !

  8. I likes de Brown SUgars too , I must admit , some likes de dark chocolate and some de sugar cane … LOL OH Barbados when will YOU GROW UP !!!

  9. The man wiv no name!!

    vancet, don’t c what ‘growing up’ has to do with it. it’s grown up to face your problems n try to resolve them rather than burying ur head in the sand, like u!

  10. Johnny Postle

    @ Vancet
    Blacks are more tolerable with whites than whites are with blacks. The whites in Barbados are silent discriminators with very hidden agendas. Blacks are now more aware of their misfortunes but still allow ignorance to prevail in matters that could allow them to become more cohesive. But we learning the rules and as such have been able to chart a better course for our lives then ever before. Still got a lot to learn tho tho.

  11. isis

    Barbados is still full of the plantocracy that governs its politics, and from what i can see its getting whiter by the minute, Hitler was a jew and he wanted to whiten the black race. This is happening in britain alot especially with the jamaicans who the british government said they wanted to help but their country is in such a state it begs belief. They don’t have any good intentions for black people whereever they are in the world – fact.

  12. Pingback: Bajan Ralph Straker passes in the UK – One of thousands recruited from the Caribbean by London Transit in the 1950s | Barbados Free Press