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Mrs Veris Carnegie

Veris Carnegie was born in St Elizabeth, Jamaica in 1938. She flew to the UK to join her husband Clement in 1961.

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A Jamaican childhood

Veris grew up in Mountainside where her parents were bakers. Her father’s name was Fred Mullins and he came from Barbary Hall.

Veris would help to make bread, buns and cake for her parents shop and the night market that was popular with local policemen from Black River, Santa Cruz and Maggotty.

Among her favourite recipes were bulla cake – a rich Jamaican cake made with molasses, nutmeg and ginger – and cocoa bread.

The family were Anglican and Veris sang in the choir.

Coming to the UK

Veris waved her husband Clement goodbye on New Year’s Eve 1959 and didn’t see him again until 1961 when he sent for her to join him in the UK.

Clement had been renting a flat in Wolverhampton but when his wife arrived, the couple moved to Newport where Clement’s brother Stanley was already living.

Like many Caribbean people, the couple left their two children – Patrick and Viveen – behind in the care of Veris’s mother.  Both children remained in Jamaica and the Carnegies paid for them to go to college there. Viveen is now a teacher on Grand Cayman.

In Newport, Veris soon found work at Crompton Batteries where she stayed for eight years.

The Kendal railway crash

Veris remembers hearing about the Kendal railway crash on September 1, 1957, which left nearly 200 dead and 700 injured.

She recalls how the train left the railway line and fell to the bottom of a narrow gully. The terrain was not level and the train had to go around a hill.

The Caribbean community in Pill

In Newport, the Carnegies lived at 3 Capel Crescent, Pill. Their immediate neighbours were Thomsons furniture shop (which is still trading) and a garage with huge doors.

In those days, no-one in Pill locked their front doors, not even at night. Veris remembers once mistaking the house next door for her own; she was halfway up the stairs before her elderly neighbour stopped her. 

The Caribbean community was strong in the 1960s and 1970s, with blues parties and dancing every Saturday night. The Carnegies would dance the night away at the popular Silver Sands on Commercial Road.

Veris wrote home regularly, putting money in her letters.

 

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