Interview with Ester Jankey, 2008
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Empire of Care oral histories
Scope and Content:
Ester Jankey interviewed about moving from Trinidad to the UK in 1969, training and working as a nurse in the NHS, and her experience in nursing compared to the experiences of African and West Indian nurses today.

[00:00:00] Ester talks about moving to the UK from Trinidad in 1969. Parents wanted her to follow them into teaching, but she had an independent spirit and wanted to travel. Used first wage of £19 to buy winter clothes. Lived in a nursing home. Comments that her family’s strong work ethic has helped her throughout her career.

[00:12:00] Caught meningitis during training. Went back to work too early and had a relapse. Put her behind with her studies; worked hard to catch up. Friends invited her to stay with them to convalesce.

[00:17:00] Explains that living in the nurses' home with others as a trainee helped her integrate into society. Compares to African nurses today; comments that they are focused on their own culture.

[00:24:00] Comments that whilst the nursing sisters were strict during her training, they had a lot of fun. Mentions parties with the soldiers from the army barracks. Recalls being terrified the first time she worked on a ward and working to get to know patients. Tells anecdote about a patient putting whisky in her coffee and pointing out snow.

[00:44:52] Comments that African nurses feel that they are given a hard time because of the colour of their skin; thinks that this is not the experiene of West Indian women.

[00:49:00] Left Colchester in 1972 and worked in Dulwich, Birmingham, Exeter and London before returning to Colchester. Now in a senior position. Not married. Comments that positive discrimination is wrong and she feels satisfaction in her success in competing on a level playing field. More paperwork today. Goes back to Barbados for two or three weeks each year.
Dates of Creation:
1 hour 4 minutes 4 seconds
Creator Name:
Colchester Museums
Admin History:
Ester Jankey came to the UK in 1969 from Trinidad, aged 20, to follow a career in nursing in Colchester. Over the following 39 years Esther worked in various other places in the UK, including London, Birmingham, and Exeter. In 2008 she was a senior nurse.
Archivist Note:
Physical Characteristics:
1 MP3 file created from original WAV file
Dates of Description:
19 November 2021
Not Available:
Digital item(s). For access please email ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk