Memories in Mind

DirectorShirley Thompson
One line synopsisThe partly dramatised stories of four women who migrated from the Caribbean to Britain in the 1950s.

Caption: "This film is dedicated to my dear mother and to all the other courageous and inspirational women from the Caribbean." Woman in Jamaican dress reciting Louise Bennett’s Colonisation in Reverse (1966). Newsfilm from1950s showing immigrants arriving in Britain by boat and by plane, at work and at home. Young woman in 1950s dress reading in the park. Caption: "Transition." Connie Mark talking about coming to England from Jamaica, and wondering why her plane trip took her via Newfoundland. Caption: "Connie arrived in London with her baby daughter in 1954. She came to join her husband who was a professional cricketer." Maxine Franklin says her music teacher looked after her as her parents were dead; she travelled by boat. Caption: "Maxine came to England in 1958 after receiving a government scholarship to study piano at the Royal College of Music." Merlin Walker telling Hyacinth Thompson about going to England with a friend who helped her during the voyage. Caption: "Merlin arrived in Nottingham to join he husband in 1955. Hyacinth arrived in London to join her husband in 1957." Franklin talks around arriving in London. Caption: "‘Sorry Love’." The young woman being refused accommodation. Mark talking about not wanting to take a room that had no bath and being laughed at by the landlord for refusing it. Walker saying it was difficult to find somewhere to live. Mark describes how several people had to use one stove because the landlord wanted to save money, but that they maintained the hospitable Jamaican tradition of having a big pot of food in case someone calls unexpectedly. Woman cooking over heater. Mark explains that coal fires didn’t warm rooms very well. Caption: "Acclimatising." Young woman playing radio and reading letters from home. Walker says she was very unhappy and had to buy extra clothes because of the cold. Young woman looking through her wardrobe. Walker says she had long hair which she had to cut off because the weather damaged it. Young woman pulling hair from her brush.

Caption: "‘That’s My Trade’." Young woman looking for a job. Mark says she wanted a job as a medical secretary because that was her trade, but was told that "coloured people" didn’t get "jobs in offices". She relates an anecdote about an interview. Thompson explains that she was at college when she left home but could only get manual work. Franklin says she didn’t have much social life in the college, and never really felt part of the community. Caption: "‘My Night’." Young woman waiting for someone outside restaurant. Mark says she used to go to the theatre one night a week. Walker talking about going to parties. Film of couples dancing. Franklin talking about cooking over a gas ring on days when the student canteen didn’t operate. Mark on visiting friends; she thinks people needed each other more at that time. Caption: "Around Town." Young woman walking. Montage of images of people and traffic in London. Franklin talking about trying to call a taxi because she couldn’t cope with the traffic. Walker talking about the Underground. Caption: "‘I’ll Never Forget’." Young woman catches her heel between cobblestones. Thompson talking about lack of information about Jamaica among the British; about cobbled roads. Walker repeats a conversation she once had with a mother whose child stared at her because he wasn’t used to seeing black people. Franklin says she didn’t understand the racial situation at first and was once surprised to be escorted home by friends at the time of the Notting Hill riots. Mark remembers advertisements for rooms saying "no coloureds, no Irish, no children, no dogs." Credits (more of Colonisation in Reverse heard over).

Production companyPrime Productions
Running time22 minutes
Full credits

Interviewees, Connie Mark,
Maxine Franklin,
Merlin Walker,
Hyacinth Thompson.
Dramatic Sequences performed by Dollie Henry;
Lighting Camera (Studio) Jutta Doberstein;
Camera Operator (Location) Kate Mapes;
Camera Assistants Ellie Peers,
Stefan Stuckert;
Lighting Assistant Volker Koster;
Sound Recordist Kate Mapes;
Art Directors Miriam Sorrentino,
Jane Winkles;
Telecine Grader Jason Glenister;
Editor Peter Harvey;
Producer Helena Bullivant;
Executive Producer Juliet McKoen;
With special thanks to Susie Ahlberg,
Angels, Bermans,
Better Sound,
Cultural Partnerships,
Barbara Emil,
The Geffrye Museum,
Alan Lawrence,
London Video Access,
Michael Samuelson Lighting,
Pinewood Studios,
SVC Television,
South London Filters,
Studio Film & Video Lab,
Gloria Williams.
Music composed & performed by Shirley Thompson.
Poem Colonisation in Reverse performed by Connie Mark with the kind permission of © Louise Bennett.
Written & Directed by Shirley Thompson.
Arts Council/Prime Productions © 1992.

Film segmentMemories in Mind - ACE428.2
Memories in Mind - ACE428.3
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