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An oral history interview with Gaynor Legall in Cardiff, discussing her experience of growing up within a family which migrated from the Caribbean during the 1950s.

“Respect for other people, respect for difference”

Gaynor Legall was born in February 1950 in St David’s Hospital. Her mother was born in Cardiff, and her father was from Belize, which was known as British Honduras until it gained independence in 1981.

“I had a very happy childhood and in lots of ways, although we were very poor and were seen as underprivileged, we were very rich in other ways. So in terms of culture, in terms of friendships, in terms of living in a community that was cohesive and protective. We were very fortunate.”

“I went to South Church Street school… I was four and a half… I think that they had no expectations of the kids and they ruled by brute force, lots of caning, or punched in the side of your head, that sort of thing…”

“The last two years of every single day before school started, I had to wait outside the headteachers door and say ‘sir, I haven’t done anything’ and he’d say ‘you will’.

Gaynor Legall remembers the beginning of the Tiger Bay redevelopment, which started in 1956 and saw the relocation of families from 57 different nationalities. “The community I grew up in no longer exists, and I’m sad about that. It wasn’t normal because migration previously been about men, but this time it was men and their wives and mothers and fathers and their children, so the impact was different.” “I have created my identity, so I am Welsh. I can’t pretend anything else because when I go other places they know I’m not from there, but I don’t know how accepted I am as Welsh by the white wider population, but I have decided that I am Black, Welsh, and that is my identity, ethnic origin… I am very comfortable in my own skin.” "

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