Ending homelessness, rebuilding lives

My history is my heritage

In celebration of Black History Month, we have been sharing the diverse stories of our staff and clients. Grace Hicks-Tingle – Bristol Recovery College Apprentice and Black, Asian and Minority, Ethnic (BAME) Network lead – shares how she discovered more about her origins.

“My parents came to England in 1956 and 1957 from Jamaica. The British Government had promised everyone a better life in England.

I am part of the ‘Windrush generation’

They arrived in England on the Empire Windrush. The Empire Windrush first arrived at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948 carrying 492 Caribbean passengers. This historic event would mark the beginning of the mass immigration movement in the UK. By 1961 an estimated 17,200 people of West Indian origin has been born in the UK; we are now known as the Windrush generation.

My heritage goes beyond Jamaica

My history and heritage does not just start and finish in Jamaica, the home of my parents. I discovered that my grandfather was born in Jerusalem and is known as a Falasha Jew; it is said that they were the first Black Jews of dark skin. He ended up in Jamaica after the First World War, where he met my grandmother.

On my father’s side, my great, great, great grandfather was a slave owner in the parish of St Ann’s, Jamaica. He was called Lord McTingle and he originated from Scotland. All his slaves were called McTingle. I’m not sure when they dropped the ‘Mc’ from my family surname, but my Dad’s birth was registered as a Tingle without the ‘Mc’.

My history is my heritage

To me, heritage is not just the colour of my skin; it includes the way my history began. There’s a saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ – and I think it’s equally valid to say ‘never judge a person’s heritage by the colour of their skin’. It is deeper and more varied than you think.”

Bristol Recovery College is a pioneering, inclusive learning programme, based on the principle that learning can be a transformative experience. Set in our New Street Hub, in the heart of St Jude’s, we offer a safe, inclusive and creative learning space underpinned by our recovery service ethos. All our courses are free and designed, delivered and attended by St Mungo’s clients, staff and volunteers. Courses are also open to the general public. You can find out more here.

Resource Library