07/52 Canada – Alma Rattenbury

Alma Rattenbury (nee Packenham, nee Dolling, nee Radcliffe Clarke) was a talented musician, whose loving of men led to her ultimate demise.

She was born in British Columbia, Canada and played piano and violin as well as writing her own music. Here she is playing a composition she wrote:

Alma was shunned from Victoria after she married the architect of the city’s famous Empress Hotel (who happened to be 30 years her senior).

The couple left Canada and settled in Bournemouth, England. Where she would meet the fourth great love of her life, George Stoner, their eighteen year old chauffeur. Jealous of the marriage, Alma’s young lover kills her husband with a mallet. The trial at London’s Old Bailey is one of the most sensational trials of the 1930s, and while she is found innocent, Stoner is sentenced to hang.

Distraught about losing them both Alma dies four days later, of a self inflicted broken heart.

There is so much information about Alma out there if you look in the right places, and even a film about the court case featuring Helen Mirren.

06/52 Fiji – Naibuka Qarau

In the 1960s Her Majesty’s Armed Forces recruited 12 women, and 200 men from Fiji, Naibuka Qarau was one of them. In this episode we learn how he’s made Hackney home and he’s completed the circle of early Methodist missionaries.

There are at least two books written about Naibuka’s years of service, 212 Solider for the Queen by David Tough and In the Steps of Stanely by John Blashford-Snell.

Communities Fiji Britain is the charity through which Naibuka welcomes Fijians of all races and walks of life into the UK.

You can also find him every Sunday at Welsey’s Chapel near Old Street station. The service begins at 11am, and hung inside this very historically important building you’ll find flags from all over the Commonwealth. Each one represents members of the congregation and their diverse hometowns.

Underneath the church is the Museum of Methodism, and next to it John Wesley’s chapel and grave. It’s open Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm.

This episode was the work of many. Thank you of course to Naibuka for your generosity, and your service to country and church. To Chris to inviting me to the PISUKI event where we met, and to Mo who introduced us. For Saane Sunshine and Emily for being so warm and welcoming, and Beatrice for the cake we ate while recording this.

05/52 Kiribati – Rotee Walsh

Somewhere in rural Wales you’ll find the Kiribati Honorary Consulate, and there you’ll find Rotee Walsh. In this episode we learn about her life, and how she’s raised her family with an appreciation of both cultures.

You can read more about their home and the work of the Kiribati Consulate in this BBC article. I also encourage you to read up about Object Lessons, the project Kiribati Tungaru Association did with the British Museum.

A correction from Michael:
We did not in fact visit Waikiki beach on our honeymoon (we went to Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia, and then to Australia and Singapore on the way back to Ireland).  We went to Hawaii on a later trip back (although still before Cordelia was born).

04/52 Australia – Alice Procter

Alice Procter is an art historian who immigrated from Australia, she runs Uncomfortable Art Tours in major British museums examining how we “curate historical trauma and national identity”.

Her work has been featured in The GuardianAl Jazeera and even the Daily Mail!

You can book tickets for Uncomfortable Art Tours here, or follow The Exhibitionist on Facebook to learn when the next tour is. You can also find Alice on Twitter and Instagram.

British Subjects is a podcast created and produced by @annarosekerr.

02/52 India – Srinivasa Ramanujan

Against the wishes of his mother and his religion, Srinivasa Ramanujan immigrated to the UK from India in 1914 to become one of the most prolific mathematicians to work at Cambridge University.

In this episode Dr Sarah Meikeljohn tells us the story of her favourite mathematician, and also reads out every taxi cab number currently known to man.

The film ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity‘ tells a dramatised story of Ramanujan’s life, and you can watch it on Netflix.

To learn more about Ramanujan’s work you may enjoy this BBC programme or this article.

British Subjects is a podcast created and produced by @annarosekerr.

01/52 Dominica – Baroness Patricia Scotland

From Dominica to Marlborough House, Baroness Scotland has gone where no woman has gone before. Learn about her story and her current role as Commonwealth Secretary-General.

Thank you to Julian Rogers for letting me use audio from his interview with the Baroness, you can listen to the full show on Soundcloud.

The book I reference at is Baroness Scotland of Asthal by Sue Adler.

You can learn more about the Commonwealth at their website.

British Subjects is a podcast created and produced by @annarosekerr.


An Introduction

Over the next 52 episodes we’re going to learn the stories of 52 first generation immigrants.

Technically there are 53 Commonwealth countries, but the United Kingdom features in the stories of all these individuals, as it’s where they all end up living.

In this introduction episode you’ll learn a little more about me, and why I’m interested in the concept of Britishness.

This episode references a 2005 study into what people in the UK define as Britishness, commissioned from ETHNOS Research and Consultancy by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in 2005.

I also reference a speech by Gordon Brown in July 2004 which you can read in entirety here, and a letter written by Amos Olalekau in 1950.

Two books which I highly recommend reading on the topic of Britishness, and which helped me to form this episode are The Battle of Britishness: Migrant Journeys, 1685 to the Present by Tony Kushner and Britishness: Perspectives on the British Question edited by Andrew Gamble and Tony Wright.

You might also be interested in Benedict Anderson’s theories on Imagined Communities.