Catherine Marson

Coming to England

"I was surprised when I came here, to see that you could get everything you could get back home [in Guyana] in the market. Everything, come from different countries, everything.

When I was home I sent eggs to my sister, because I said I don't think they have fowl in England. So I sent eggs from home! Somebody was coming, so I gave them the eggs and so on to bring, I said they can't get eggs and they can't get rice in England. Because we have our own fowl you see, and so on and our own rice land.

Then we read about the snow and ice and the place is so cold, and we said trees can't grow there you see, because the place is so cold. I feel that it was just all snow and ice and all the people living there. When I come, and I see so many people of different nationalities, and I say I am back in Guyana!."

Daily Life

"I went to a Seventh Day Adventist in Brixton, but whilst I was passing I see St. John's Church by Lewisham Station, a big church just by the road. So I read the time - 10.30 service. I went there to St. John's Church in Lewisham, and I had a warm welcome at the Anglican Church, and so I start to go.

They asked me to be a side-woman, and I was the first black side-woman for the church. A side person serves and welcomes people, until now I am still a side-woman, thirty years now.

It used to be pure white people, but now it is pure black. When I first went, there was about ten black people, now three quarters of the church is black people. They were so helpful and so friendly. I've been there thirty, thirty-one years now, long time. I was born and bred in the Anglican Church. I never leave my church."

Free time


"When I retired I went to adult education classes and take part in all manner of things. I did languages; I did French and Spanish first, then I joined a group, which was the Older Women's Network.

I was nominated to go to Italy. They couldn't speak English and I couldn't speak Italian, and for the whole day I couldn't get food or tea, and in the night when I went in the house, I ask for a cup of tea. I asked in French, and they couldn't understand. I asked in English, and they couldn't understand. I asked in Spanish and they couldn't understand. And then I saw they had a log fire burning, so I pointed to the log fire, and make like this, and make like the black pepper shake, and then they realise I want something hot!"

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