Birmingham Black Oral History Project R1152 Oral History Interview – Frank Scantlebury 30/08/1991 Interviewee: Frank Scantlebury Interviewer: Doreen Price
This is an oral history interview with Frank Scantlebury, recorded in 1991, as part of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project (BBOHP), discussing his life in Barbados and the UK.
Frank was raised by his grandparents in Barbados, though his parents and siblings lived close by. He left Barbados on 16th June 1955 at just 18 years old. He initially lived in Bath and began working for a signage company. He enjoyed the city and his job, though did experience racism in the workplace.
Frank moved to Saltley, Birmingham, in the 1960s and began work for British Rail, first as a signalman and later as a guard. He also spent time working at the BSA factory making motorbikes, a job he really enjoyed. He was married, later divorced, and had a son and a daughter.
These recordings include racially explicit content, including discussions of racism, prejudice and violence; and language and phrasing that we would not use today. Some of this content might be unsuitable for younger listeners or triggering for People of Colour. We recommend reading the description for each track before choosing to listen.
Track 1 Frank talks about living in Saltley, shopping at the Co-op, and Saltley Medical Centre. He also talks about the Welfare State comparing it to Barbados, and the NHS. He discusses loneliness when he first lived in Bath.
Track 2 Illness Frank discusses becoming ill in 1983, being treated in Dudley Road Hospital, and being diagnosed with liver failure.
Track 3 Medical Treatment Frank continues to discuss his illness, including having a liver transplant in 1989. As a result he had not returned to Barbados
Track 4 Identity Frank talks about his identity as an 'English person', his thoughts on 'race riots' during the 1980s.
Track 5 Family Frank discusses the impact of unemployment. He also discusses his children, their education and identity.
Track 6 Racism in England Frank discusses the root cause of racism towards African Caribbean people, and educating people to relate to, and respect each other’s differences.
Track 7 Church Frank continues to discuss why 'every individual in the world matters'. He also talks about being shunned when attending some church services in England alongside white congregations. He describes his shock that this occurred in England.
Track 8 Faith / Class Frank continues to talk about his faith and attending Church in Edgbaston. Frank also continues to discuss prejudice and class.
Track 9 Race and Class Frank continues to talk about class.
Track 10 Civil Unrest Frank talks about civil unrest in England during the 1990s and 1985