and bred in the city Harry, recalled some of his memories in an
interview with Umara Hussain carried out shortly before his death.
s main feature was the Cathedral. There was no free education and
the main industry was shipping based in Gloucester port.
went to the local school and there were no books or paper. We had
to use slates and had a slate pencil so that the work could be erased
had to leave school by the age of 14. The boys had to find work,
any type of work. At the time I left school, many people were more
concerned about the World War than education."
the age of 14, a special test had to be taken. If the children passed
it then they could go on to grammar school. There were four grammar
schools in Gloucester.
could pay for their children to go if they wanted them to go there
or the children would automatically be allowed to go if they passed
girls had to go in to domestic service and often ended up staying
there. Hence life for them was pretty hard.
families were encouraged to go to church. They were living a life
of Christian teachings - you were supposed to give help to whoever
was rather sad that a large number of our population objected
to these people, who had unstintingly helped us during the war.
main objections were that the colour of their skins was black
and that part of their culture was different to our way of life.
Ultimately, this led to direct discrimination against them and
they were finding it more than difficult to find somewhere to
repaired motorcycles for his first job. This he did for two years
before becoming involved in the transport industry. Harry was also
given an opportunity to study maths and physics at the Technical
College and he did well in his exams.
the meantime, his personal life was also developing. "I've
only had one girlfriend in my life and at that time I used to spend
all my time with her."
married that girlfriend, Ruth, who worked as a secretary, in 1938.
They decided not have any children straight away - instead they
saved for a house.
1939, World War Two was declared and Harry spent six years in the
army in a job that involved some aspects of the secret service,
On D-Day in June 1944, Harry was wounded and he became a teacher
until the end of the war when he found work an an engineer with
afterwards he learnt that he couldn't have children because of his
injuries. At this time the country was trying to rebuild the infrastructure
which had been severely damaged during the period of war.
the war we were very grateful for the help and support of people
from other nations of the Commonwealth. As we were short of help
to rebuild the country and in need of both skilled and unskilled
people, the Government decided to reinforce our depleted work force
and invited members of the Caribbean islands to come and help us.
of course meant they could supplement their families' income, as
well as help us to rebuild our damaged towns and communication systems.
of those who came to help generally did not fit into the higher
grades of employment, but were nevertheless able to carry out extremely
important work with our railway systems.
found work rebuilding our farms and the countryside, while many
of the women found work in our hospitals, which were badly understaffed.
was rather sad when taking everything into account that a large
number of our population objected to these people, who had unstintingly
helped us during the war, being here.
this time the main objections were that the colour of their skins
was black and that part of their culture was different to our way
of life. Ultimately,
this led to direct discrimination against them and they were finding
it more than difficult to find somewhere to live.
Worrall at a community event when he was Mayor of Gloucester
would not live near them, even before they knew anything about them.
of them were not equipped to be able to withstand our winters, which
were very severe at that time with snow and ice and of course ultimately
recalls meeting some African Caribbean people in Barton Street in
1951, shivering in their thin clothes.
had been snowing, the weather was very cold and these people had
nowhere to go.
was no housing association, no social services - the only help came
from the church or people who understood the situation. I quickly
found these circumstances were pulling at my conscience.
made contact with a few like-minded people who I hoped would be
prepared to do something about a situation needing urgent attention."
found a police superintendent, a college lecturer, the town clerk
of Gloucester and two representatives from the churches and they
formed themselves into a small working committee to try to bring
about a change in people's attitudes.
more people became interested in what we were trying to do and we
made an application to the City Council for help for what was then
known as Gloucester Community Relations Council (CRC).
was elected as the chairman of the council, which of course was
making more demands on my 'spare' time.' Fortunately, Ruth supported
me fully in my attempts to help in this matter. It meant that 23
Massey Road, our home, became a meeting place for small committees
and individuals who wanted to see me in order to discuss their problems."
was thought that the CRC needed a voice on the Gloucester City Council,
so in 1963 Harry successfully stood for election to the council,
representing Labour in the Barton Ward.
had been snowing, the weather was very cold and these people
had nowhere to go. There
was no housing association, no social services - the only
help came from the church or people who understood the situation.
I quickly found these circumstances were pulling at my conscience.
later Harry was notified by the then Lord Chancellor (Lord Hailsham)
that he had been nominated as a Justice of the Peace for Gloucester.
recalls that he initially found it quite hard to communicate with
the Asian community, as they did not speak English.
just one member of a family would speak English and if they were
not available, then the council would then have to find a translator.
Asians were also more business-minded with many setting up shops
in the Barton Street area."
Harry recalls, the Asian people had to send money to their families
back home but did not know how this was done. On their behalf he
went to see the bank managers and the post office to sort out postal
orders which enabled them to send the money to their families.
was also a great need for somewhere to meet the Asian community's
religious needs - the Muslim community wanted somewhere to pray.
helped bring forward two houses in the city which over a period
of time were converted into a mosque.
remained chairman of the CRC for 14 years in which time he also
played a role in the shaping of legislation that helped form the
Commission for Racial Equality - a body created to give ethnic communities
greater powers against those who deliberately discriminate against
people on racial grounds.
work gave Harry the opportunity to visit several of the Caribbean
Islands in order to better understand their lifestyle.
main interest was Jamaica. I was able to visit most of the government
departments that were most helpful when trying to help with social
problems here in England.
with the many visits I made, I made many new friendships.
city of Gloucester had shown a keen interest in twinning with a
suitable place in Jamaica. As I was planning to have a holiday in
Jamaica, I was asked if I would make enquiries into a suitable 'twin'.
regard to the location from which many of the immigrants who had
settled in Gloucester came, on my return I recommended that Gloucester
should negotiate with the parish of St Ann. I am pleased to say
that Gloucester is now twinned with St Ann."
See 'The Asian Community'
See 'The African Caribbean Community'