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Wybourn Black

Product code: WB-BK
£10.95
Julian Antonio McKenzie provides a facinating take on life growing up on Sheffield's sprawling Wybourn Estate.

The McKenzies were one of the first black families to move onto the council estate and his story of growing up there in 1970s and 1980s provides a rarely heard perspective on Sheffield life.

Julian Antonio McKenzie's family thought they were truly living the Commonwealth dream when they left Sheffield's Page Hall district and became one of the first black families on the Wybourn Estate in the early 1970s.

His dad, a stickler for style and razor sharp creases, arrived in England in the mid-fifties at the height of the immigration boom and landed a job as a bus conductor.

Meanwhile, Julian's Jamaica-born mother achieved her life's ambition and qualified as a nurse at Fir Vale Royal Infirmary.

Julian Antonio McKenzie was born following the couple's whirlwind romance and marriage; a baby sister closely followed. Mother always insisted that the McKenzie's bettered themselves and nowhere looked more appealing than the Wybourn, the sprawling inner city council estate that was undergoing a huge refurbishment programme at the time.

But it wasn't a direct route - the family had a few months sampling life at the monolithic Hyde Park Flats as they awaited completion of work at their new house, sited in the shadow of the epicentre of Wybourn, the Windsor Hotel.

Julian Antonio McKenzie's story of life as a first generation black child growing up in 1970s and 1980s Sheffield gives a perspective on city life rarely heard.

The mere mention of visit from 'Uncle Enoch' (his mother used the architect of the infamous 'Rivers Of Blood' speech as her own self-styled bogeyman) was enough to keep him in his place whilst 'Love Thy Neighbour' - complete with its questionable methods to encourage assimilaiton - became essential viewing in the McKenzie household.

But his enthusiasm for life; together with his love of football, the Wybourn and later the Manor where he attended Waltheof School, ensured racial tensions didn't become the focus of his world. Instead he attended 'Swap Shop's' legendary visit to Norfolk Park in the late seventies and nearly got a lift home with Keith Chegwin and help defend the honour of Wybourn against all comes in the Windsor Wall gang.

By the early 1980s he'd got a new first love, ska music; well that and the 2p bus rides as he made his first tentative steps into town on his own to sample the delights of Bradley's Records and Harrington's Clothing.

Early nights on the town in venues spanning Turn-ups to Marples provided a welcome distraction from ever present threat of the Cold War.

​​​​​​​A YTS at Starting Point on the Wicker provided his first real taste of real independence whilst an 18th birthday spent fretting on the maternity wing at the Northern General was about to welcome a second generation McKenzie, rather earlier than planned...
Weight 0.242kg
Product Code WB-BK