Memoirs of Gayle Bartholomuesz

Interviewee:
Gayle Bartholomeusz
Date of Interview
16th August 2014
Length of Interview:
1 Hour 12 Minutes
Interviewer:
Tina Hanks






CLICK HERE to listen on a mobile device.

Gayle was just 7 years and 2 months when she came to London with her family. She enjoyed an idyllic life in Ceylon but quickly adapted to London life. Listen to why she believed it was important to do this project.

Detailed Summary (with time stamping for ease of access)

0:00:45.8:
How I'm a Burgher.
0:01:20.1:
School life was very disciplined and structured.
0:01:45.8:
I started school at 3 years old at Lindsey Girls School which backed onto a beach.
0:02:54.3:
I loved school in Ceylon. We learned Latin, long division and were always challenged but it wasn't difficult.
0:03:42.3:
We had to come to school with sharpened pencils.
0:04:22.0:
Our structured life continued when we came home from school.
0:05:59.8:
I made kites during our play time at home with my sister Fran and cousins Derek and Aubrey.
0:06:47.3:
We'd fly our kites on the Galle Face Green on a Saturday.
0:07:38.2:
On Sunday we went to church. Then we'd have a picnic on the beach along with other Burgher families.
0:08:32.7:
What made me cry at the beach in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
0:09:03.6:
The pranks my mother and her best friend Audrey got up to.
0:11:24.0:
The day I went to a Charity Fancy Dress Football Match. I was fascinated by the player dressed in a nappy and bonnet.
0:13:48.9:
The day I nearly stepped on a huge sleeping snake.
0:15:04.6:
The reason my parents decided to leave Ceylon - what was happening to the Tamils.
0:20:35.8:
Leaving Ceylon affected me badly. The culture shocks.
0:21:35.6:
Why my dad chose England over Australia.
0:22:03.5:
We travelled on the S S Orsova. What I thought about the whole event.
0:23:08.1:
We arrived on 3rd March 1963.
0:23:48.5:
My first impressions of England. More culture shocks.
0:25:19.7:
Life for the first year was tough.
0:26:26.5:
I was shocked by the style of teaching in the UK.
0:27:00.4:
It took me one year to find someone who liked me at school - a Jamaican girl.
0:28:00.0:
I lived on the best street ever - Oxgate Gardens in Cricklewood - even our dogs hung out together!
0:28:42.8:
The day I got my grandmother in trouble.
0:29:49.0:
The Youth Club at The Church Hall on our road.
0:32:18.1:
The Jumble sales at the Church Hall on our road.
0:33:07.6:
The Girl Guides at the Church Hall on our road.
0:33:32.1:
I joined the choir at our Church. I made 2 shillings for a wedding on Saturdays and 2 shillings and 6 pence for a wedding on a Sunday.
0:34:08.4:
My friends and I used to love going scrumping and getting chased away.
0:35:12.8:
The day my mum and I played a joke on 3 boys down our road who called me rubber lips.
0:38:15.0:
My summer holidays at Gladstone Park Swimming Pool - definitely one of the best places to be (bordering Cricklewood, Neasden and Willesden Green).
0:39:11.8:
Today Gladstone Park Swimming Pool is a grassy mound.
0:39:33.8:
More on the wonders of Gladstone Park as it used to be.
0:41:01.8:
We had to go swimming in Gladstone Park (outdoor) pool at the beginning of March as soon as the pool opened for the season at our secondary school.
0:42:43.7:
The worst culture shock I experienced regarding my son.
0:45:10.0:
Culture shock in reverse - when the bus conductor met my grandmother.
0:47:10.7:
Culture shock - when the youth clubs were closed down. The importance of youth clubs for young people.
0:49:05.8:
My father played guitar in a jazz band at night when he was 10 years old to pay for his school fees when his father died.
0:51:09.0:
My grandfather's stories about his boyhood days made me feel sorry for his mother and teachers. An example of this is when he got caned. He said when he walked down from the stage he wore a big smile whilst the tears streamed down from his face.
0:52:48.6:
My grandfather was registered blind but he'd never wear his white stick. He went into the shoe menders and asked for fish and chips.
0:53:37.4:
Every Sunday we'd visit another Burgher family or they'd come to us. There'd be 4-6 families there.
0:54:17.3:
My grandmother's card parties. The conversation around the card table.
0:55:26.3:
The Ceylon Women's Christian Association - frequented by Sinhalese, Tamil and Burgher Christians.
0:56:11.7:
The Ceylon Student's Centre in Bayswater in 1970.
0:57:27.7:
The stylishness of Kilburn High Road in the 1960s with BB Evans department store and Miss Wartski boutique.
0:58:35.2:
The Burgher persona from my observations.
1:00:28.3:
Why I developed this project. Our offspring need to know about their unusual background.
1:01:44.1:
Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
1:02:21.4:
I met up with Wendy, my old school friend from Lindsey Girls School after interviewing her dad Gerry Daniels.
1:03:24.0:
Retired Burghers are very busy people and hard to tie down.
1:05:01.9:
Isms.
1.05.53.8:
What I love about London and the sixties.
THE END
 

 
Gladstone Park Swimming Pool

 
Lindsey Girls School photo. I am 2nd from right middle row.


Going to a party with my older sister the late Fran - 1962.


My daughter and friend dressed as
Sinhalese King and Queen.
Kensington. 1980s


My Mum in London Nightclub 1970s.


My Dad's pipe 1982.


My Dad, Centre, with Guitar, 1960s.


My Younger sister and I dressed
in traditional Sinhalese costume.
Kensington 1980s.