Errol Forrester, born in Jamaica in 1954, came to East London at the age of 14 to join his mother, sister, stepfather and half siblings from his mother’s second marriage.
Errol Forrester was born in 1954 in the countryside in Westmoreland, Jamaica. His mother left for England when Errol was about 7. Errol then lived with his grandparents and cousins whose parents were also in England. His grandfather was a carpenter and his grandmother a farmer. Errol walked miles to school but also helped his grandmother in the house, feeding animals and looking after the crops. When Errol was about 10 his father, who had separated from his mother some years previously, died. His aunt and uncle on his father’s side took Errol to live with them and their children in Grange Hill. Errol now went to a more modern school than the one in the village.
At the age of 14 Errol left for England to join his mother and sister who had been brought over before Errol. His mother, working as an accountant, had remarried so Errol had a new stepfather and new siblings. He and his sister were the only black kids at Faraday High School in Plaistow. Errol took on various jobs – wool processing which he hated, metalwork in Bryant and May and as a car mechanic. As a teenager he got into karate, clubs and music, particularly reggae. He met his partner Cath, born and brought up in the East End, in a youth club. They both supported some of the Bangladeshi youth who were being attacked in the 1970s around Brick Lane. Cath and Errol even put up Jalal, mentioned here, and his friend in their council flat in Spitalfields.