Interview with Rosie Bobby, 2008
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Empire of Care oral histories
Scope and Content:
Rosie Bobby interviewed about coming to England from Trinidad in 1959 to train as a nurse in Colchester. Describes her experiences of working as a nurse and living in Colchester.

[00:00:00] Rosie talks about moving from Trinidad to Colchester. Taught in Trinidad before moving. Wanted to care for people. Travelled by boat to Plymouth; made friends with two others from Jamaica. Had a cousin in London. Met at Colchester railway station.

[00:05:19] Positive impression of Colchester Hospital and the sister in charge of nurse training. Meals taken in hospital canteen. Shared a house with two Jamaican nurses; cold and expensive to heat. Homesick and wrote letters home regularly. Received food parcels from home.

[00:11:38] Arrived with black stockings and cardigans. Bought an expensive fawn coat in Colchester. Paid for own travel from Trinidad. Niece came to England to study at a Technical College and worked for Trinidad and Tobago High Commission.

[00:14:46] Trained as an SRN [State Registered Nurse] and worked in different areas of the hospital, including a private ward. Recalls sad experience when a patient died on Christmas Eve. From the group of 18, two left before completing training. Training hard but enjoyable.

[00:18:23] Generally good atmosphere. Sister strict but caring. Lovely uniform with maroon belt in third year. Daughter trained as a radiographer. Comments that Colchester was a small nice town. Visited London to see a friend’s parents and went regularly to Newcastle to see her cousin.

[00:23:41] Lived out with an English girl during her third year. Met her husband from Norfolk as he was living in a flat in the same building. Went to the cinema together. Rosie went to church on Sundays. Recalls that patients were generally ignorant of life in Trinidad, like the food and clothing. Had intended to go back after training but stayed.

[00:27:36] Married in Colchester in 1963. Her cousin and few friends came to the wedding; family in Trinidad could not afford to travel. Father-in-law took wedding photographs. Had a fold watch. Not allowed to wear jewellery at work.

[00:34:12] Comments that she did not experience prejudice, even when working on the private ward. When consultants came nurses had to be in the background and keep quiet. Could have a chat in private wards. Left nursing after her first baby was born.

[00:38:30] Took refresher course in 1976 and returned to general nursing. Retired in 1988 as a sister on a geriatric ward. Daughter worked as a manager in the radiology department of a private hospital. Second daughter worked in insurance and her son worked in music.
Dates of Creation:
40 minutes 51 seconds
Creator Name:
Colchester Museums
Admin History:
Rosie Bobby (née Ramnath) came to England in 1959 from Trinidad to train as a nurse in Colchester. She married in 1963 and left nursing when she had her first child. In 1976 she retrained and returned to nursing. She retired in 1988 as a sister on a geriatric ward.
Archivist Note:
Physical Characteristics:
1 MP3 file created from original WAV file
Dates of Description:
28 April 2022
Not Available:
Digital item(s). For access please email ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk