By The Making of Black Britain

Bill

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

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Bill and Vera (2021)The Making of Black Britain

This is Bill.
Bill is of British heritage.
He was born in England.
Bill and his wife Vera both retired before their 40th birthdays to concentrate on family.
 
Bill was interviewed for The Making of Black Britain on 8th September, 2021. 

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill talks about his early memories
00:00

A lot of our time was spent as children in the garden

…because my mother was a great believer in the kids were in the garden and she was in the house doing house wifey work: cleaning, cooking and washing. So we were quite frequently kicked out into the garden by her and expected to have our elevenses on the steps with a glass of orange juice and orange squash and biscuits. 

Baby Bill (1959)The Making of Black Britain

Baby Bill in the family garden, 1959

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill talks about his relationship with his brother
00:00

I bullied him in the nicest sense of the word.

I've got happy memories of us playing in the garden really, you know, together. Up until the age, of... when he was 11. And then we just parted company. And actually, you know, they do come down here on a relatively regular basis. And we do enjoy each other's company. We're quite, quite different.

Bill and his brother, Michael (1966)The Making of Black Britain

Bill and his younger brother Michael, 1966

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill talks about his father
00:00

I always remember them going to balls and dinner and dances.

And they always used to come back with crappy raffle presents and things like that, you know. And so Dad, I always thought, I mean, looking back now, it's dreadful that you know, he used to, obviously drink at these dinner and dances and always used to drive home. God knows how drunk he was when he used to drive home on a Saturday night.

Bill with his mum, Carol (1959)The Making of Black Britain

Bill with his mum, Carol, 1959

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill discusses his relationship with his parents
00:00

You do love your parents unconditionally. I certainly did.

We've never, we've never been a family that says, you know, I love you and or anything like that. I don't think my father ever said to me, I love you. But I always knew that he did.

Bill with his sister and friend (1962)The Making of Black Britain

Bill, 3 (right) with older sister Sarah (centre) and friend (name unknown), 1962

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill discusses issues around race
00:00

I have never noticed that people are different colours.

That's not to say that I'm not racist at a biological level because I am a great believer in potentially there is racism built-in. It's because that's the fight and flight thing of, you know, tribes and, you know, and that sort of attitude.

Bill's school photo, 1970, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Bill's school photo, 1971, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill talks about racism
00:00

I'm sure I've made faux pas in the past.

I would not want to be in the public eye. And...and be famous or infamous or anything else because I think you will attract weirdos who will abuse you, and there's nothing there's very little apparently you can do about it.

Bill (1978)The Making of Black Britain

Bill, 1978

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill discusses abuse
00:00

You realise... how horrible it is for people who are abused.

...because those memories are still in their brain. I now at the age of 62 have still have childhood memories, thank goodness (touch wood) all of which are reasonably positive. The idea that I could have images of abuse in my brain now at the age of 62, from when I was a child, appals me, absolutely, appals me

Bill's first school play (1964)The Making of Black Britain

Bill (left standing) at his first Nativity school play at Vicarage Street School, Nuneaton, Christmas 1964

Bill, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Bill talks about social media
00:00

I'm not interested that this woman's gone for a walk.

So, I deleted my Facebook page virtually there and then. I thought that's just ridiculous. And people scroll through their Facebook looking at what people are doing. I don't care. I really don't care what other people are doing and I don't want I don't think they should care about what I'm doing. So no, I don't do any social media at all.

Vera, London, Vanely Burke, 2021, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
,
Vera & Bill, London, 2021, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Credits: Story

Listen to Bill's wife, Vera, tell her story as part of The Making of Black Britain.

Credits: All media
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.