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Dorrett Buckley Greaves


Clubbing together to buy a house - that's the only way to get a home

Colour photograph of the face of Dorrett Buckley Greaves.
Dorrett Buckley Greaves © Carl Rose


Dorrett Buckley Greaves came from Jamaica to work in Sheffield in 1957. She has lived in Burngreave for nearly 50 years. She was interviewed for the Burngreave Voices oral history archive. In the sound clip she talks about the difficulty of finding a home during those early years.

So what was your first job here ?

In the hospital.


One thing I had at the back of my mind when I came was that, if ever, whenever I go abroad, I would try and get a job in a government institution.


So that I could have a pension (laughs)...and I came here for five years really...but situation was so hard, so bad, you know. You couldn't just, it's not like today. People could really come here for five years and make it and go back home...but not then...because you got to lay down the foundation, you've got to get a decent place to live for a start. So you've got to try and buy a place because it's not like today, you could get a council house to rent, no. They were telling you that some people on the list...there for nine years, some people on there for thirteen years and they still not, can't get a place, their name is on there. So what we had to together. We, we used to do our partner, they throw partner at home, you know, weekly partner - every week somebody draw out and so on and so forth. I heard that the Asians does it now on a very large scale. That's why they can afford to buy ups.. properties like that. And we throw partner, we used to person manage and buy a house. And that person...sometimes, because you know that the person lives there, have that house there, everybody comes. They just knock on the door, you can't turn them back...because there's no where for them to go. And then they had, it created a very bad influence on the people of the ..the...the white people because they said how we live together like sardine? And they'll have they big house there and just two old people living in there, they wouldn't rent to anybody. But some of them were clever, you know, one or two, the odd one, used to take in a guest...take in some body and get that money.

Yeah. OK.

You know, and so live together and they go to work. I was, when I was at home, I heard about people renting....instead of a room you get a bed, you see, it's just a bed space in a room. So...if the room can hold four people, there'll be four beds...and the four of you have to sleep in that one room. Thank God I didn't have that, have to go through that!

Extract from an interview with Dorrett Buckley Greaves recorded by Camille Daughma for the Burngreave Voices oral history project, June 2006.