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How they lived......

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

In the 1950s when West Indians first came to Britain, the government sent those who had nowhere to live to Clapham South Underground station where they were given food, shelter and a home. The Labour Exchange (jobcentre) in Brixton was only a short distance away and by arriving there in the morning, a West Indian could be in work by lunch time! That's how easy it was to get a job......


During the early years in Britain, many West Indians lived in one room which they shared.

Those working in the days would use it ot sleep at nights and those who worked in the nights would, sleep in it during the days. Most families could only afford one room, and the one room became the bed room, the kitchen, dining room, and the playroom for the children. Many people cooked in their rooms on small stoves, and if they weren't cooking in their rooms, they'd do so on the landing, for that's where the kitchen was if the house had one.

Most houses then didn't have a bathroom and parents would bathe their children in a long bath pan in their rooms. There was also the local public baths and for a small fee a person could hire a cubicle, pay for a bar of soap and a towel, and have their bath. When they finished, a man would come round with a large wooden brush, scrub clean the bath, and run the water for the next occupant!

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