Bloke on the Windrush, serving in the RAF:
King rejoined the RAF, but found civilian accommodation was the biggest challenge. At the first place he visited he was greeted with a sign that would become depressingly familiar: “Room to let. No Irish, No Coloureds, No Dogs.”
When he found a place there was no bath. Like many fellow Jamaicans, he relied on the public baths of Camberwell and Brixton, queueing for half an hour on Friday evenings.
He was determined to buy his own house and became only the second West Indian in London to do so when he took the deeds to a property in Sears Road, Camberwell. The manager at his local bank had refused to give him a mortgage even though he had a job and saved up for a deposit. The rejection letter advised him to “go back to the colonies”. The RAF lent him the money to be repaid in ten years. King paid it back in five.
Most certainly racism, yes, but it’s a little difficult to call that institutional, isn’t it?