Two great heroes who are not often highlighted, so much so that their Blue Plaque Memorial had to be ‘Crowd Funded’ by admirers and those who understood their true contribution.

Eric Huntley (1929), incarcerated for leaving his village without permission in what is now known as Guyana, came to England in 1956 with his wife, Jessica Huntley (1927-2013). He was once an important part of the Peoples Progressive Party in what was formerly known as British Guiana (now Guyana). They published a book, “Bougle L’Ouverture”, during a tumultuous time in conservative Britain and it became a reminder that things were changing rapidly. The high streets were no longer dominated by white-only businesses thanks to the Race relations Act 1965. The Walter Rodney bookshop was now one of hundreds of shops owned by Black and other Ethnic minority citizens, so naturally, it was attacked by the National Front.

“They used to leave dog faeces on the front of the shop.” Eric says in an interview with Omar Alleyne-Lawler, “They must have thought it would scare us away. But I’m still here today.”

The two went on to effect the change of Britain’s colonial rule in the West Indies through spreading ideals of independence and equality. One of the major things they organised was the Black People’s Day of Action march of 20,000 black Britons from all over the country and was the largest protest march of black people.

In truth Eric and the late Jessica Huntley are two ordinary people who have transformed the world around them through a shared commitment to publishing, community action and justice.

Eric and Jessica Huntley, pioneering Black political and social activists and radical book publishers born in what then was, British Guiana arrived in England in the 1950’s and wasted no time before becoming active in political and social issues relating to the British African-Caribbean community’s in and around London.

For over 50 years the Huntley’s participated in many significant grassroots campaigns. These included:

• Founder member of the Caribbean Education and Community Workers Association (CECWA), the first specialist Black education group to have been established in the UK.

No Colur Bar – Huntley Archives Timeline

The Black Parents Movement (BPM) formed in 1975 following the arrest and assault by Haringey police of a Black schoolboy named Cliff McDaniel outside his school. This organisation built up alliances with similar organisations nationally and internationally going on to participate in campaigns involving political crises in South Africa, Grenada and Guyana.

• Involvement with the Anti-Banding protest movement organised by the North London West Indian Association (NLWIA) that played an important part in challenging Haringey Council’s plans to assess all pupils in its schools using the now discredited IQ tests and to teach children in “bands” according to their performance.

• Organisers of the 1981 Black People’s Day of Action march that attracted 20,000 black Britons from all over the country and was the largest protest march of black people.

• The Supplementary School Movement, created to supplement the shortcomings of an education system that was failing Black children.

The establishment of Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, to promote radical Black writing. Bogle-L’Ouverture went on to publish texts by Walter Rodney, Bernard Coard, Lemn Sissay and Valerie Bloom

In 1974 the Huntley’s opened their, Bookshop, at that time called ‘The Bookshop’, in West Ealing, London. The bookshop was later renamed as the ‘Walter Rodney Bookshop’ and quickly became a place of importance for Britain’s Black community.

Eric later described it as an ‘oasis in the desert of West London’. Visitors to the shop were able to discover new radical publications, meet authors at book launches and find books to suit children from diverse backgrounds. It also became a place for teachers to learn new ways to teach their subjects and was frequently visited by artists and intellectuals visiting the UK.

It was during the ‘Bookshop years’ that the launch of the first International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books,1981 took place and the establishment of the Peter Moses School in Ealing.

The Huntleys’ went on to publish, in 1994 Cry a Whisper by Lucy Safo, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for, Best First Book.

In 2005 the Huntleys deposited their archives at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and this sees the start of another chapter of their lives as along with the HAAG committee (Huntley Archives Advisory Group) they begin to arrange annual ‘Huntley’ conferences at the LMA, starting in 2006. Six years later in 2012 the first youth conference is held at the LMA.

2013 will be remembered for being the year that the first Huntley Symposium took place, being addressed by keynote speaker Hilary Beccles from the University of the West Indies, Friends of The Huntley Archives, the group that replaced HAAG, is granted charity status and sadly Jessica died in October. Eric continues to work with the Conference planning group while also accepting speaking invitations and pursuing his personal writing.

By Rob Burns

This larger than life character was a fire eater in a circus, a sailor, a boxer, a model in Germany where he was imprisoned in WW1, but most of all he was the most famous ‘Horse Race Tipster’ in Britain, I love the stories below found on the website My Brighton and Hove, they sum up this larger than life character perfectly.

By Colin Southwood – My Brighton & Hove

My first recollection of Prince Monolulu (1880-1965) was as a six year old boy in the early fifties when my grandfather used me to take to the Brighton races with him. Part of the excitement for me was the trolley bus ride up Elm Groove, my grandfather and me sitting on the top deck looking at all the punters making their way laboriously up the steep hill on a summer’s day.

A giant black man

To a six year old lad the first sight of him was amazing, there was this giant black man in a brightly coloured outfit with large coloured ostrich feathered plumes from his hat. The first sighting made all the more exciting when my grandfather told me he was a Zulu Prince from Africa!  At six years old I had never seen a black man before let alone a black prince!

A tipster in fancy dress

My grandfather was a regular visitor to Brighton race course and knew him well.  On the first occasion my grandfather introduced me to him I remember standing there petrified!   Fifty odd years later I can still see the man and him shouting, “I Gotta Horse” to anyone that would listen as he strode around the course in his fancy costume and plumes.

The most famous black man

Ras Prince Monolulu was the most famous black man in Britain. Between the wars, he was a national icon renowned for his eccentricity, a racing tipster of such theatricality that even in the days when newspapers carried few photographs and television was in its infancy, he was still the most recognisable racing personality other than the top jockeys.

Catchphrase – “I gotta horse!”

Everyone knew that he wore a bizarre costume of massive baggy trousers, and a headdress of ostrich feathers atop ornate waistcoats, and colourful jackets. Prince Monolulu would be at all the important race meetings where he would sell his tipping sheets in envelopes. He was very funny, and would have the crowds in stitches with his banter – just like a market trader, only with much more style. His catchphrase “I Gotta Horse” guaranteed him a place in most newsreels of the day featuring racing.

Of Scottish descent

He claimed to be the chief of the Falasha tribe of Abyssinia, but in reality he came from Guyana, as it is now and was of Scottish descent – his real name was Peter Carl Mackay. According to his memoirs, called, funnily enough, “I Gotta Horse”, he started out as a sailor but re-invented himself as a Prince after being press-ganged aboard an American ship in 1902.

He was told princes were important people, and he figured a prince wouldn’t be shanghaied again. He was soon off round the world, eating fire in a travelling circus, working in Germany as a model and boxing in France, pretending to be an opera singer in Russia, and becoming a fortune-teller in Italy.

Battle against racist attitudes

Interned in a German camp during the First World War, he emerged to become Britain’s most famous racing tipster – unlike some of today’s TV tipsters he was funnier, louder and considerably more accurate with his tips!  

Indeed he came to prominence because of an extraordinary coup in the 1920 Derby. Virtually alone among tipsters he plumped for ‘Spion Kop’ the 100-6 outsider which romped home in record time to win him £8,000 – a fortune in those days. His career was made; soon no major race meeting was complete without a visit from the Prince and his envelopes of tips.  He was a figure of fun, yes, but he also contributed in his own uniquely humorous way to the battle against racist attitudes.

First black man on TV

Such was his fame that in 1936 he achieved a slice of immortality – on 2nd. November in that year, the BBC began its television service and Prince Ras Monolulu was the first black person to appear on screen on that very first day of British television broadcasting. He himself estimated that between 1919 and 1950, he made and lost up to £150,000 on the Turf, and while his health and fortunes declined in the late 1950s he was still a much-loved character.

Remembered as an amazing man

Images courtesy of Mashable 1920s – 1950s: Ras Prince Monolulu

Prince Monolulu was always himself as a bit of a ladies man and was believed to have fathered many children and married several times. Once was to the actress, Nellie Adkins on the 21st August 1931. When he died of cancer on the 14th February 1965 at the age of 84, the Daily Telegraph and many other newspapers carried full obituaries of this amazing man.  Prince Monolulu, the man who had brought a ray of sunshine to the punters at many race courses throughout Britain regardless if they won or lost!

Read more

Ras Prince Monolulu BBC in 2010 and here in BBC Sports in October 2020

Jeffrey Green’s blog pictures him in 1957 with Dutch fashion models

Short biography in Gambling online news

1948 – 1969

Fred Hampton was one of the most gifted civil rights speakers since Martin Luther King. His natural ability to draw empathy and agreement across the multi ethnic community in the USA frightened the government and its enforcers – he had to be stopped by any means possible.

For a generation of Chicagoans, their opinion of what happened in 1969 when Chicago police raided the West Side apartment of Black Panther Party members depended greatly on what neighborhood they called home.

For the public at large, it was as police officials described: a dramatic gunfight launched against police by violent black nationalists that left two dead and four wounded.

But for others, particularly socially conscious African Americans, the December 4th raid on the two-flat at 2337 West Monroe Street was a cold-blooded execution of Black Panthers leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, ordered by federal authorities eager to snuff out burgeoning black leadership.

Officially, the Cook County state’s attorney’s 4:30 a.m. raid by 14 Chicago police officers began as the execution of a search warrant to turn up weapons and explosives that they feared black power group was supposedly hoarding inside.

But it didn’t take long for the police’s version of events — that Black Panther members opened fire first on officers knocking on the door — to be challenged.

Survivors described a far more frightening scene: Officers armed with shotguns and rifles opening fire on sleeping Black Panther members inside, among them Hampton’s pregnant fiancee. A special federal grand jury determined that police sprayed 82 to 99 gunshots through doors, walls and windows while just one shot appeared to have been fired by someone inside.

Clark was killed in early gunfire, but survivors Harold Bell and Hampton’s fiancee, Akua Njeri, then known as Debra Johnson, testified at the 1972 criminal trial against the state’s attorney and officers in the raid that Hampton was pulled alive from his bed and shot dead after the group had surrendered. Later, an FBI whistleblower said the agency coaxed local law enforcement across the country, including Chicago police, into deadly clashes with heavily armed Black Panthers.

In 1983, a federal judge approved a settlement that awarded $1.85 million to survivors of the raid and families of the two men who were killed, to be paid by the federal government, the city of Chicago and Cook County.

Historian Clayborne Carson, director of Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, said the Black Panthers’ fast rise during 1960s was due to their leadership’s ability to speak to young black disenfranchisement.

“What the Black Panthers did was take that generation of young people who were disturbed by what was happening in the black community and developed a political answer,” said Carson, who has written extensively on the Black Panthers, King and Malcolm X.

“The Black Panther Party had dynamic leadership that drew people to it, and Fred Hampton was a wonderful example of that. He would have made a wonderful leader.”

Carson and G. Flint Taylor, a longtime Chicago attorney who has worked on cases involving the use of excessive force by police, said modern movements like Black Lives Matter that address police brutality have taken up the mantle of the Black Panthers. Taylor also represented the Hampton and Clark families in the 13-year civil lawsuit.

If the 1969 deaths were meant to stall black leadership in Chicago, Taylor said the outrage by activists across racial lines over Hampton and Clark’s deaths helped lay the political groundwork that:

“led in a straight line to the voting out of (State’s Attorney Edward) Hanrahan in 1972 … and of course, that political movement became the underpinnings of the movement,” to elect Harold Washington as the city’s first black mayor and later Barack Obama, as the nation’s first black president.

Decades later, the West Side killings could still divide the city and cause tempers to flare. In 2006, a West Side alderman proposed naming a section of Monroe Street as Chairman Fred Hampton Way. The proposal, which initially flew under the public radar, soon raised the ire of the local police union and the relatives of fallen police officers. They claimed police were merely pushing back against violent militants who encouraged armed resistance.

“It’s a dark day when we honor someone who would advocate killing policemen and who took great advantage of the communities he claimed to have been serving,” the Fraternal Order of Police president said at the time. Weeks before the 1969 raid, a gunbattle had left two Chicago officers and one Black Panther member dead.

The attempt to rename the street failed, aggravating past scars and showing that the:

“echoes of that turbulent era still reverberate in a city still divided by race and class,” writer and commentator Salim Muwakkil wrote in 2006.

Deeper implications

The raid also led to one of the biggest embarrassments in Tribune history, as “exclusive details” and photos ran in the newspaper that purportedly showed bullet holes fired by Black Panther members but were later determined to be just nail heads. Afterward, the Tribune dispatched pioneering black reporter Joseph Boyce to interview friends, family and loved ones of Hampton and Clark.

But the event had deeper implications for the city beyond ending the rising political career of Hanrahan.

On the doorstep of a new decade, Hampton and Clark’s deaths effectively ended the city’s 1960s counterculture movement and fulfilled FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s goal of disrupting the local Black Panthers. Clark and Hampton were the 27th and 28th Panthers slain that year, while, in coming years, dozens of other leaders and members, including Bobby Seale, Geronimo Pratt and Angela Davis were imprisoned or were on the run from the law. Remaining leadership called members to Oakland to refocus their efforts. By 1982, the Black Panther Party, which was beset by infighting and criminal activities within its ranks, had been dissolved and ceased operation.

The wrongful death lawsuit, aided by more openness from the FBI following Hoover’s death and changing public attitudes toward authority spurred by Watergate, helped lift the lid on the FBI’s long-running dirty tricks campaign against the group and the individuals it considered dissident.

The agency’s infamous COINTELPRO, or counterintelligence program, tracked, spied on and used subterfuge against targets from the Reverand Martin Luther King Junior to the Ku Klux Klan. In 1976, the FBI first admitted its role in the Chicago raid in a New York Times article that described the program as:

“Mr. Hoover’s once‐secret effort to watch, harass and discredit thousands of Americans whose politics he opposed.”

Perhaps more shocking, a Senate report further acknowledged that Hoover’s FBI, in trying to prevent violence from black power groups:

“itself engaged in lawless tactics and responded to deep-seated social problems by fomenting violence and unrest.”

In one such attempt to raise rancor between the Black Panthers and the Blackstone Rangers street gang, the FBI formulated a plan to send a note to Blackstone leader Jeff Fort, purportedly by an anonymous black gang member, claiming the Panthers had put a “hit” on him, a 1976 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities revealed.

“Some of those activities were clearly wrong and quite indefensible,” a successor to Hoover said. “We most certainly must never allow them to be repeated.”

Preventing the ‘rise of a messiah’

Started by black Oakland college students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense attracted great interest and membership in cities across the country.

Dressed in black berets and leather jackets and easily recognizable with their raised fist and chant of “power to the people,” teenagers and young adults, male and female, were drawn by messages of black empowerment and armed resistance against police violence. The group also instituted breakfast programs for children and medical clinics for the poor.

But where black youth saw inspiration, Hoover saw:

“the greatest threat to internal security of the country” and promised to neutralize the group by year’s end.

The Illinois Black Panther Party found fertile ground on Chicago’s West Side, which grappled with issues of white flight, gang strife, limited job opportunities and conflict between residents and police.

Enter Hampton, a 21-year-old Maywood man, whose charisma and popular support among young activists led them to call him, “chairman” as a sign of respect. Born in southwest suburban Summit and an honors graduate at Proviso East High School, Hampton led a successful campaign to have a non-segregated pool for youngsters built in his hometown. But it was his electric presence and magnetic personality that raised the membership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) suburban youth chapter from seven to 700.

Historians say police brutality and early tangles with the establishment drew him away from the NAACP and toward the Illinois Black Panther Party, which opened an office on West Madison Street in November 1968. Hampton gained further recognition by negotiating a truce between his group and Blackstone Rangers and Black Disciples street gangs that May. Hampton was seen as a successor to leadership as bosses were killed or put in prison. He was joined by Mark Clark, 22, described as a shy, lanky would-be actor who led the Peoria chapter.

By July 1969, the Black Panthers had become the primary focus of the FBI’s COINTELPRO tactics, as Hoover sought to prevent the “rise of a messiah that would unify and electrify the militant nationalist movement” and gain public respectability, according to the Senate report. Leading up to the raid, the FBI and police also arrested Hampton and other Black Panther members in a deliberate effort to publicly discredit the group, the report added.

During court proceedings, it was later revealed that William O’Neal, a car thief, had been turned into a paid informant by the FBI. As the Black Panthers’ security guard, O’Neal provided his FBI handlers with details of the group’s inner workings and floor plans of Hampton’s apartment prior to the raid. FBI agent M. Wesley Swearingen became the agency’s first whistleblower in 1977, claiming first to government lawyers and later in a 1995 book that the FBI set up Chicago police to kill the Panthers, warning the officers they’d be met with guns blazing.

Taylor, the families’ civil attorney, rejected any suggestions that Chicago police were anything except:

“willing partners,” in the slayings. “They weren’t duped into this raid,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t just a shooting … it was a political assassination that came from Washington and the COINTEL program and J. Edgar Hoover.”

Hanrahan, an assistant and 12 officers present at the raid were indicted, but later acquitted. Hanrahan was forced out and never regained public office. Young Black Panthers member Bobby Rush became an alderman and eventually a U.S. congressman.

Bobby Rush in his own words in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and the rise in the Black Lives Matter movement

In 1990, O’Neal, who’d returned to Chicago in the mid-1980s after a stint in federal witness protection, was struck by a car when he ran across the Eisenhower Expressway in Maywood in an apparent suicide.

The Assassination of Fred Hampton

How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther (Extract)

The life and murder of Fred Hampton as told by Jeffrey Haas, co-founder of the People’s Law Office and attorney for the plaintiffs in the federal suit Hampton v. Hanrahan.

On the morning of December 4, 1969, lawyer Jeffrey Haas received a call from his partner at the People’s Law Office, informing him that early that morning Chicago police had raided the apartment of Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton at 2337 West Monroe Street in Chicago.

Tragically, Hampton and fellow Panther Mark Clark had both been shot dead, and four other Panthers in the apartment had critical gunshot wounds. Police were uninjured and had fired their guns 90-99 times. In sharp contrast, the Panthers had shot once, from the shotgun held by Mark Clark, which had most likely been fired after Clark had been fatally shot in the heart and was falling to the ground.

Haas went straight to the police station to speak with Hampton’s fiancée, Deborah Johnson, who was then eight months pregnant with Hampton’s son. She had been sleeping in bed next to Hampton when the police attacked and began shooting into the apartment and towards the bedroom where they were sleeping. Miraculously, Johnson had not been shot, but her account given to Haas was chilling. Throughout the assault Hampton had remained unconscious (strong evidence emerged later that a paid FBI informant had given Hampton a sedative that prevented him from waking up) and after police forced Johnson out of the bedroom, two officers entered the room where Hampton still lay unconscious. Johnson heard one officer ask, “Is he still alive?” After two gunshots were fired inside the room, the other officer said, “He’s good and dead now.”

Mark Clark (1947 – 1969)

The killing of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, in a pre-dawn raid coordinated by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, the Chicago police, and the FBI, was a major incident in the repression of the Black Power Movement. A less well-known victim of that raid was the 22-year-old, Peoria-born Mark Clark, who had come to Chicago to attend an Illinois-wide meeting of party leaders. On the night of the raid he was on security duty in the front room of Hampton’s apartment and was shot in the heart when authorities stormed the apartment.

Mark was the brother of Richard Pryor’s close friend Matt Clark, and had been — at four years old — the youngest member ever of Juliette Whittaker’s acting company, the Carver Players. After working as a teenager with his family in the town’s local NAACP chapter, he had founded the Peoria chapter of the Black Panther Party.

John Gwynn, president of the Peoria and Illinois chapters of the NAACP, recalled that:

“all of the Clark brothers were participating. All were alert and pretty much read up on the issues.” He added that Mark “could call for order when older persons or adults could not.”

“He was a nonconformist,” his sister Eleanor said. “He was the type of person who, regardless of whether anyone went along with his ideas…he was going to do what was right and appropriate.”

The Clark family was never notified by law enforcement officials of the shooting, according to the Tribune.

Black Panthers Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22, are gunned down by 14 police officers as they lie sleeping in their Chicago, Illinois, apartment. About a hundred bullets had been fired in what police described as a fierce gun battle (not true) with members of the Black Panther Party.

However, ballistics experts later determined that only one of those bullets came from the Panthers’ side. In addition, the “bullet holes” in the front door of the apartment, which police pointed to as evidence that the Panthers had been shooting from within the apartment, were actually nail holes created by police in an attempt to cover up the attack. Four other Black Panthers were wounded in the raid, as well as two police officers.

The raid, which had been led by Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan, was only one of many attempts by the government to weaken the Black Power movement. Under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI had been battling civil rights activists and other minority leaders for years with their COINTELPRO program, whose purpose, according to one FBI document, was to:

“expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralise the activities of black nationalist hate type organisations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership and supporters.”

Although the FBI was not responsible for leading this particular raid, a federal grand jury indicated that the bureau played a significant role in the events leading up to the raid; Hanrahan had utilised information provided by FBI informant William O’Neal, who was third in command of the Chicago Panthers, to plan his attack.

By A Williams STOCCA (Six Towns One City Carnival Association)

When I first approached Mrs Parker and jokingly stated she had a tale to tell, Mrs Parker was humbled and politely declined, however a week later Mrs Parker contacted me she  had been encouraged to tell her story by her elder sister Gloria, whom Mrs Parker affectionately calls her inspiration. 

Clarissa W Green the 11th of 13 children, (10 survived birth) born to Mary and Nathaniel Green of Deanary Road Lower St Andrew Jamaica.

Clarissa speaks fondly of her parents recalling that they were the best parents in the world, her parents in her words were a solid couple.

In 1956 Clarissa came to England, staying with her elder sister in London, in 1960 Clarissa started her nursing training at Pinewood Hospital in Pinewood, Berkshire. Pinewood Hospital specialised in Pulmonary Tuberculosis it was in 1962 that Clarissa passed her written and oral examination and was certified in the nursing of cases of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.

Certificate for Clarissa W Parker (née Green) for her training to be a qualified Pulmonary Tuberculosis 1 Nurse 1962

In 1962 Nurse Green attended the Prestigious King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor, where she trained in the Medical, Surgical, Gynaecological, Orthopaedic and Paediatric wards from the 24th July 1962 to the 23rd July 1964, where she was certified with conduct being very good and duly qualified to discharge her duties as a Trained Nurse.

Certificate for C W Parker (née Green) as qualified to discharge the duties as a Trained Nurse 1964

Nurse Green recalls that you had to live in at King Edward VII hospital and every 3 months you undertook exams, which you had to pass to continue the rest of the nurse training, Miss Sinclair Brown, Matron was very very strict, but fair. Clarissa recalled, she liked Miss Sinclair Brown as you knew exactly where you stood with her.

Clarissa W Green now a qualified trained Nurse was invited back to King Edward VII Hospital Windsor in 1964 and was presented the Gaymer Jones Prize for Surgery, as she was nominated as the best Surgical Nurse. The award was presented to Clarissa W Green by the then Dean of Windsor. Prizes were awarded as recognition for outstanding work.

Gaymer Jones Prize for Surgery 1964

Clarissa remembers when she was informed of being an awardee, she opted to chose a book by Winifred Hector, Modern Nursing Theory and Practice.  Winifred Emily Hector was the Principal tutor at  St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and was very modern at the time,  credited with introducing modern curriculum and teaching methods to British nursing education.  To this date Clarissa still has this book with the inscription intact.

Modern Nursing: Theory and Practice by Winifred Hector – 1964 Gaymer Jones Prize for surgery

On 3rd December 1964 Clarissa Walberga Green was certified as a Registered Nurse.

Clarissa Walberga Green was officiallly admitted to the General Register maintained by the General Nursing Council for England and Wales and was entitled to use the title of “Registered Nurse” the  Seal of the Council was officially afixxed  on the 30th April 1965.

“Registered Nurse” the  Seal of the Council was officially affixed  on the 30th April 1965

In 1965 State Registered Nurse Green moved to Stoke on Trent Staffordshire which as she recalls when she approached Miss Sinclair Brown her Matron and tutor at King Edward VII hospital, to inform her of her decision, Matron Brown exclaimed leave it to me.

As a State Registered Nurse, C W Green moved to Stoke in 1965

State Registered Nurse Green moved into nurses accommodation just off Queen street, ST4 living within the hospital grounds, offering easy access to The Royal Infirmary Hospital, The Limes Maternity Hospital and The City General Hospital.

It was also in 1965 that Mr Owen Parker met Miss Clarissa Green.

30th June 1966 State Registered Nurse Clarissa Walberga Green after passing the 1st and 2nd examination of the Central Midwives Board, was certified and entitled by law to practice as a midwife.

Certificate for C W Green who passed her First and Second Examination for Midwifery 1966

In 1967 Mr Owen Parker and Miss Clarissa Walberga Green were married in Stoke on Trent.

Clarissa Walberga Parker, Senior Midwife in Charge at North Staffordshire Hospital

Throughout 31 years as the Senior Midwife in Charge at North Staffordshire Hospital, overseeing countless expectant mothers and patients, training upcoming student nurses working with and managing all aspects of her departments, working along side Doctors, Consultants and Professors, Senior Midwife Clarissa Parker affectionately called CP by her equals retired, from the National Health Service after 36 years in service.

Mrs Parker recalls the surprise by others when all the top Consultants made a point of signing her retirement card the signatures and comments speak for themselves.

… the comments speak for themselves, Living Legend

In 1998, North Staffordshire Hospital (NHS) Trust, the Chairman and Members of the Trust Board, placed on record their appreciation of the long and faithful service rendered by Mrs C. W. Parker, after 31 years with North Staffordshire Hospital, a combined service within the National Health Service of 36 years.

1998 Testimonial Certificate of Appreciation of long and faithful service North Staffordshire Hospital (NHS) Trust 31 years.

I would like to personally thank Mrs Parker for sharing her nursing history and her sister Gloria for encouraging her to do so.


Footnote: Pulmonary Tuberculosis sometimes known as TB or Consumption was an extremely prevalent disease in London at the time Clarissa was training there to be a nurse and trained to take care of patients with TB. TB is airborne and London had even worse air quality in the 1960’s than it does today. It’s highly contagious. Often a silent killer for the poor and the homeless, many rich and well known people also died from TB. There is now a cure, but the disease has to be identified and even today London has a Find & Treat mobile service to track down those people who have TB and to provide them with treatment. How London Became the Tuberculosis Capital of Europe Guardian 26th November 2018. Although levels of TB are declining, still the 10% of the poorest people in Britain are seven times more likely to contract TB than the 10% richest people in the Britain and its still a killer.

Photo: Doug Brown (second left standing) and Roy Brown (at the top)

Doug Brown & Roy Brown’s father, Eugene and his brother John came to England from the Ghana, West Africa, they were students. They decided to join the British Army when WW1 broke out.  John was killed and Eugene badly injured but after the war he got married and had two sons.  Eugene later died of his war injuries and the boys were raised by their mother, an English Woman from Stoke-on-Trent.

Roy Brown was a talented footballer and he was signed by Stoke City on leaving school at 14. The Second World War interrupted his football career although he did play for the club in the Football Regional League. He made his debut in 1941 and played a few games before joining the armed services.

Roy Brown – Stoke City Football Club

The league did not resume until the 1946-47 season. Brown scored 14 goals in 74 games for Stoke City. In 1953 he was transferred to Watford in Division Three (South). Over the next few years he scored 40 goals in 142 games.

World War II

During World War II Doug Brown trained as a physiotherapist to help in the recovery of injured soldiers. He continued this work in the newly formed National Health Service.

In 1960 Doug became the physio for Stoke City. His Brother, Roy had played for Stoke city as a young man.

Doug Brown at The Staffordshire Ladsandads Club

In 1967 Doug set up the first “Lads-and-dads” matches on local school football pitches, which had previously been closed at weekends.
For his work with Lads and Dads he was nominated by Footballers Garth Crooks and Robbie Earle (Both originally from Stoke on Trent) for the BBC People’s Awards.

The same year Doug became an independent councillor, later joining the Labour Party.

He was appointed Lord Mayor in 1984 and then later helped to set up “Match Mates” to help combat Hooliganism. Princess Diana presented Doug with an award for his work in this area.

In 1997 he was appointed as Lord Mayor for the second time.

Doug Received an honorary degree from Keele University in recognition of his lifetime’s service to young people. He was a Justice of the Peace, President of the North Staffordshire Chinese Community.

Honorary member of the Grenadier Guards. Chairman of the board of governors at Sutherland primary school in Blurton (for 22 years).

Read more about Doug Brown and here

Read more about Roy Brown

A tribute to my dad Sidney Joel Young 1927-1999

My father was born in the tiny village of Welcome, in the Parish of Hanover, Jamaica. The youngest child of Sarah Webb and Alexander Young. Sadly, my Grandmother died when my father was 7.

I have recently discovered through Ancestry DNA my great grandfather Albert Edward Young 1868-1946, great grandmother Florence E Young 1867-1933. Maternal great grandmother Priscilla Purrier 1845-1920. I have tracked the Young family name back to a Scottish gentleman Edward James Young 1827-1914 who married Sarah Ottway (great great grandparents).

Dad left Jamaica as a young man with his brother Aaron Berchel and initially went to the United States, Aaron met his wife and settled in Buffalo, whilst dad travelled on to Great Britian. His strong work ethic stayed with him his whole life, through first working down the ‘pits’ and then at Shelton Bar where he forged many freindships. The work was heavy and exhausting, dirty and dangerous, but dad never complained, and was just eager to earn his keep, doing his bit for the motherland and adjusting to his new life.

I look back with awe and respect when I think of the hardship he endured at such a young age…. a strange, cold country, no family, little money faced with ignorance and racism, from the majority of society at that time.

However, I never recalled dad focusing on the negatives of the racism he encountered. Instead he immersed himself in the British way of life and soon met my mum Betty Bailey.

They make a striking couple…. Sidney Joel…. dark, handsome, dapper and charismatic….Betty….blonde, blue eyed and beautiful.

Wedding photo for the marriage of Sidney Joel Young to Betty Bailey in July 1957.

They married in July 1957 and their photograph was taken by the late H Bowen of Longton… I’m sure their photograph in the studio window raised a few eyebrows back in the day!

They scrimped and saved to buy a little shop that my grandmother owned in Town Road, Hanley, it sold sundries really, this and that as shops did at that time, but, they stayed open all hours and lived above the shop. I was born in 1960 and remember as a child hearing the latest ”Beatles” hits through the open window being played in the adjacent public house called the Sea Lion (situated where the Potteries shopping center is now located, along the same strip of businesses was Derricots the chip shop, Leeks the delicatessen and Sherwins the record store. Across from there leading to our shop was Redman’s food store, Times Furnishers, the Wine Shop Off Licence and Kenneth Wrights Opticians.

The shop was three storeys high right at the top was the attic and main bedroom where I was born below that was the lounge and bathroom, ground floor was a small shop, a cozy backroom with a cardinal red fireplace leading to a tiny back kitchen, a little yard with a pear tree in a barrel and an outside toilet,  I remember the walls were always white washed and there was a beautiful stained glass window separating the backroom from the yard, the cellar stored the coal and the meter for the shilling top up of electricity.

Dad supplemented his income by working at Shelton Bar whilst mum was in the shop and then doing the evening shift, he took one or two jobs … traveling salesman at one point. They then bought an Off Licence in Westland Street Penkhull with a larger living accommodation a\s we then had my mother’s father grandad William (Bill) Bailey living with us too. We lived there until I was seven. Dad again working all the hours whilst my mum kept the shop going.

Mr Young

It was in the early 70’s that mum and dad decided to focus on the herbal side of the business and by the mid 70’s there was the early emergence of  ‘health food’ and that is really when Armstrong’s Health and Herbal started to take off. I think we only had three main suppliers then Potter’s, Carter’s of Shipley and English Grains (suppliers of Red Kogga Ginseng).

Flyer for Armstrong’s Health Food and Herbal Store in Hanley

By 1980 when I joined mum and dad we were a thriving business, I had previously studied a 2 year medical secretarial course and worked for a Consultant Cardiologist but left to study herbal medicine at Tunbridge Wells. I won a national competition as Miss Health Food Trader and the publicity in the Evening Sentinel coupled with regular talks to the Womens Institute and other groups created a further platform for success. We became founder members of the Institue of Health Food Retailng quite an accolade really! We were the first store locally to supply supplements and proteins to the newly emerging bodybuilding competition venues, we were the first shop in the area to sell Red Kooga Ginseng, there were queues as far as Times Furnishers when we first supplied it.

Mr Young in the shop.

By now we were sourcing an array of supplements and herbs and buying from many different suppliers, although the Armstrong own label products proved to be everyone’s favourites.

We would visit trade fares down south or in Harrogate every year to keep ahead of trends and current research.

We all worked so hard and as a team the shop consumed our every waking hour. However, it was dad’s compassionate nature that contributed the success of Armstrong’s, everyone loved the bones off dad and he was affectionately called ‘Mr Armstrong’.

We have third generation customers who still visit the shop today and reminisce about yester year and the delight of being served by Mr Armstrong, a wise and wonderful gentleman who worked hard to provide for his family a gentleman loved and respected by so many friends and customers.

Dad sadly died in 1999 a truly traumatic time for us all, but, the business survived and despite the changing face of Hanley, a recent challenging period after mums death in 2017 and now Covid-19, we still have a wonderful customer base, an array of natural supplements, herbal medicine and health foods and a fourth generation input in the form of my son James.

We are hoping to refurbish the shop soon, but would never want to destroy the old fashioned ambience that gives Armstrong’s its charm or the specialist advice we offer our customers.

Armstrong’s now established over a hundred years and after forty years of service along with my colleagues of thirty years Linda and John, James and Nicky we continue to provide an Aladdin’s cave of natural remedies in Hanley’s Town Road.

Lorraine Dobell