Memoirs of Tina Hanks

Interviewee:                          Tina Hanks
Born:                                    27th December 1944
Date of Interview:                  31st March 2014
Length of Interview:               Part 1: 58 Minutes , Part 2: 59 Minutes
Interviewer:                           Gayle Bartholomeusz



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Tina Hanks works hard to get what she wants. She decided to come to the UK by herself when she was just 14. Aged 17 she set off on her adventures, with older sister in tow. She saw a man she thought was good looking - and married him. Her sense of daring enabled her to pick up and drop different careers achieving some impressive successes along the way. You may feel a bit sorry for the people who tried to discriminate against her though.

Detailed summary (with time stamping for ease of access)


Part One

0:00:32.4: My earliest memories aged 3 1/2 years at grandfather's funeral.

0:02:20.0: Lodging away from home with my aunt unsuccessfully.

0:08:41.2: Boarding school.

0:12.46.7: What I did for fun as a child.

0:15:22.4: My first thoughts of coming to England.

0:17:39.5: The letter on the noticeboard which enabled me to come to London.

0:18:33.2: "Yes. When dear?".

0:21:36.2: And sister Yvonne came too.

0:23:06.0: Leaving Ceylon on the Canberra.

0:23:50.0: Life on The Canberra.

0:28:29.3: Arriving at Southampton, travelling to Waterloo and onto St Stephens Hospital, Fulham in December.

0:30:38.5: Travelling to Swanlea, Kent to work in a convalescent home until I was old enough to begin my SRN training.

0:30:15.3: My first party in Chalk Farm.

0:32:09.2: My reason for slapping the man at the party - explained.

0:40:51.6: Travelling to Swanlea from Victoria on my own - a breeze.

0:42:36.4: Meeting Matron.

0:44:03.5: Writing home every week.

0:44:26.4: Life in Kent.

0:47:32.9: Beginning my SRN training in London.

0:53:10.0: My decision to leave nursing.

0:57:11.1: My new career choices. Going to the cinema in Fulham Road – you could stay all afternoon.

Part Two

0:00:12.1: Moving to a Home for Foreign Girls run by nuns in Gloucester Road.

0:00:43.8: The standard of education in Ceylon was very strict.

0:01:18.3: I met one of my patients in Kent at my first temp job.

0:03:16.9: Then the manager walked in and I thought "gosh he's handsome". So long story short, I married him.

0:05:06.9: Moving to a new job with an examining board and flat in Olympia with my new husband. Giving birth to my two children.

0:06:11.9: Moving to Surrey for work.

0:07:24.2: And then to Manchester.

0:08:24.0: My new job as the sole woman amongst 60 men.

0:10:34.9: Buying our first house and other family matters.

0:14:42.3: Some of my proudest achievements - my daughters and my cooking abilities.

0:17:39.0: Going back to Ceylon after my father died in 1971.

0:20:00.1: My mother frittered my father's money away.

0:21:00.9: They lit fire crackers for us upon our arrival to my mother's house.

0:23:01.8: We had a picnic on the beach for my birthday.

0:24:58.2: Some of my proudest achievements - My work in regeneration including London Docklands.

0:26:07.7: England has been fantastic for me. People should show respect for England.

0:27:20.2: What being a Burgher means to me.

0:28:19.3: Differences between Burgher and Muslim culture in Ceylon.

0:30:40.5: Differences between Burgher and Sinhalese parties.

0:31:30.3: American and British influences - we admired Colombo Burgher girls.

0:33:29.3: How Burghers were different from Sinhalese and Tamils in Ceylon. Burghers never searched for an identity outside of themselves.

0:37:00.0: Burghers were brought up with sound values of tolerance, equality and respect for work. We get our pride from working.

0:39:47.8: Learning from the people I met on this project.

0:41:25.7: Back in the days being a Burgher wasn't a very good thing.

0:42:30.3: The intermingling of cultures in Ceylon. We would celebrate the Buddhist New Year etc.

0:43:35.6: Sexism - Burgher girls and boys were raised equal.

0:45:20.8: Facing prejudice because of my skin colour for the first time.

0:46:10.0: Problems finding housing.

0:46:52.9: My decision to integrate as fully as possible.

0:05:30.1: Discrimination by the MD's wife at an exhibition I was working at. How I handled it.

0:51:27.5: How I handled another incident of discrimination at an interview.

0:54:40.2: "I bet you'll remember what I look like - and I still want the job". I got the job.

0:57:43.1: I pioneered the overseas and UK private public sector property exhibitions - helping to regenerate Docklands sourcing money from the Far East. But I still experienced a subtle incident of discrimination which I smoked out and eventually resolved.

1:03:15.3: Another achievement I’m proud of. I entered the All Island Sinhala Essay Competition writing an essay in Sinhalese. Every child in the country between 10 and 14 could enter – And I won. And The Minister For Education came.