City of Stories

City of Stories

Loretta with the traditional Caribbean doll she bought in a jumble sale in Birmingham. ‘As children in St Kitts, we had no toys. I used to make dolls by plaiting tall grasses to make the head, arms and legs.’

It started as a project, and has become a passion, gathering stories from people living in ExtraCare Villages in Birmingham. Working with Geoff Broadway, we’ve invited residents to share their memories and tell their stories. We’ll be creating an e-book (also print on demand) sharing the astounding diversity of lives lived faraway and on our doorstep. It is so moving, hearing people retell the things that capture the essence of their lives.

Joyce was a shop steward working in the school meals service. Eddie was in the TGWU. During the miners’ strike, they’d fill their caravanette with food bought by union members, and drive it down to the miners in Mardy in Wales. ‘They were working people like us.’

Qing (right, with his sister and brothers) was the son of a general in Chiang Kai-shek’s army. After the Communists took over in China in 1949, he managed to qualify as a doctor, but because of his ‘bad family background’, he was sent to the countryside for re-education during the Cultural Revolution. And ended up doing medical research in Birmingham and retiring to Bournville.