Listen to Peter's story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project

By The Making of Black Britain

Diane and Peter (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Peter was born on Coronation Day in 1937.
His rich mixed heritage includes part Irish on his mother’s side.
Peter can trace his family tree back to the 1600s.
Peter was interviewed for The Making of Black Britain on 3rd September, 2021.

Peter (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Peter talks about his early education

As a boy, I was considered quite bright.

One of my earliest reports, saying that I associated with the noisier elements. My father said “What’s wrong with that?” 
He thought it was a compliment. But the head teacher didn’t. 

Peter discusses his family history

My mother always claimed to be an Irish.

My sister insisted she that she wasn't because she was born in this country. And my sister told her that she wasn't Irish. 
She said, “Yes, her mother was pregnant when she came here. She conceived in Ireland, therefore she should be Irish.” Which was a load of rubbish.

Peter recalls Ridley Road Market

That's what I remember about Ridley Road market...

They used to pluck the chickens and de-gut them, and my Father used to string them up over the door and pull on them, pull on the foot, so it drew the sinews out of the leg. Once they got the sinews out of the leg, it was quite tasty. But of course, if you try to cook the chicken with sinews in the leg, it was bloody awful.

Ridley Road Market in 2022

Peter (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Peter talks about his work

I didn't have to do national service.

So I went to the boss and said, “Can I have some extra money because I'm just about to go into the army?” 
“No.” He said, “We only do it once a year.” And they found I'd got TB. I had a scar on my lung. So they didn't take me. 

I volunteered. And they said, “No, we won't take you as a volunteer. Try the army.” 

Peter discusses being treasurer of a trade union

It was a white-collar trade union, the main one.

Management was blind, and they didn't give a proper pay rise to the staff association. So, we were able to maintain, you had to be independent, an independent trade union, and with Clive Jenkins appearing, they gave an enormous pay rise, something like 25%.

Peter talks about the miners' strike

I was very much involved in the miners' strike

Well, we were taking control. We were going to do it right. I felt no qualms about saying we were fighting her. No question about it. Because she was evil as far as we could see, she was destroying communities. She thought society didn’t exist. She said so. We were society.

Peter talks about love and marriage

What do you put down to your happy marriage?

Well, religion as much as anything. Certainly.
What you believe, it's fundamental. Even my girlfriend is Catholic. 

Peter discusses beliefs and ethics

If you lose your beliefs, you lose a big part of you.

Yes, you could have an opinion. But it must be an opinion doesn't affect other people. Now their opinion obviously affected other people. With fascism and the way Hitler was treating outsiders, it was affecting them. It wasn't just a belief, it was a practice as well. So that was wrong. 
And if I did it, I will be wrong. 

Peter's late wife and girlfriend, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Peter's late wife (left), with her friend/Peter's now girlfriend (right)

Peter, at home in his living room, 2021, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
Peter holding a framed illustration of his family crest, 2021, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Now listen to Diane tell her story, as part of The Making of Black Britain.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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