My name is Jarmila Carter, Jaja (pronounced Yaya) for short. I came to this country as a 22 year old in 1968, from my home town of Prague, former Czechoslovakia, after the Russian occupation in the summer of that same year. I have never had a single regret about choosing England as my adopted country. Click here to find out more about her story.
Project 1838, is an online exhibition designed to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the first arrival of indentured labourers to the Caribbean. It tells the story of Indian and Chinese labourers who were recruited by the British government to work on sugar plantations after slavery was abolished.
Their arrival and settlement led to a vibrant and rich mix of predominantly African, Indian and Chinese cultures. Over time separate cultural practices fused together to create the Caribbean’s distinct cross cultural characteristics now felt in every walk of life from food to music, art, architecture and language.
Our objective is to bring the story of indentured labour to existing and new audiences and at the same time revitalise an interest in Caribbean history and its people with multiculturalism at its heart.
The London connection
During the 1950’s and ‘60’s the descendants of those first pioneers answered a second call by the British government to fill the labour shortage, this time in the ‘Motherland’.
The online exhibition is called Project 1838 and there are plans for an exhibition in a gallery in London which will take place in the summer of 2015 to coincide with a major Radio 4 two part series.
This exhibition will bring these communities together to share and record their stories of Caribbean life and settlement in London and the UK.
Through photographs, film and audio recordings it will reveal the strong and continued bonds they have to the region and a determined effort to pass on their heritage to future generations
If you'd like to share your special story then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us all about it. Try to keep it under 200 words if you can and email it to us with a picture of you out and about and we'll post it on the Social History Hub website. Better still ask a member of your family to record it on their phone and we'll upload that too.
My family didn’t want me to come to London, they thought I was too young to be travelling to such an unknown place despite so many of my friends leaving. I was the eldest of ten children and had already trained as a nurse in Guyana. We lived in West Ruimveldt on a housing scheme next door to the Houston Sugar Plantation.
I finally persuaded my family to let me leave after my 21st birthday. I was getting a lot of marriage proposals in those days. Every Sunday women used to come to my parents house with gold bangles and necklaces, rings and other things to persuade my Mum and Dad to make a match with their sons. I was a good catch because I was a qualified nurse but they used to say no. They were fun times though.