Aspirations and Expectations

John Brown: Put Down

John was born in 1944 in Cardiff. His family then moved to London when he was six months old. At age four, John contracted Polio and was sent to hospital, where he remained until he was eight. Then he attended local special schools, going on to a local mainstream college at age nineteen.

Here John describes the low aspirations people had of him throughout his life.


I proved a lot of people wrong. The hospital was proved wrong when they said I’d never walk, the school could only offer me milk bottle tops and a residential and I got on to further education and then I got my own job after having gone to the labour exchange, the disabled settlement officer, he couldn’t offer me anything. I found my own little job. So, I think sometimes, you know, it’s not easy but you’ve got to, you know, you just have to do your best. But nobody – my dad never found me a job. I was only eighteen, nineteen, and I did it myself. And when I think about my background and the dysfunctional family and no encouragement and being put down all my life, it’s surprising how I did what I did. And if I had the encouragement which I should have got, I probably would have done much better.

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