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About me

 Academic background:

I received my first degree from Cambridge University, in History and Geography, in 1955. I married a fellow student, Vin Lumsden, and came to Jamaica in 1956. I taught History at Wolmer's Girls' School from 1957 to 1991. I started work on an MPhil/PhD in 1975, being awarded the PhD by the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus,in 1988; the subject of my thesis was the political career of Dr J Robert Love, the Black Bahamian who had great influence on Jamaica's politics and journalism between 1890 and 1914. This research introduced me to the Jamaica of the period of Crown Colony Government, which has been my main area of research ever since.

I taught in the History Department at Mona from 1980 to 1990 in a part-time and temporary capacity, and from 1991 to 2004 as a full-time lecturer. 

I was President of the Jamaican Historical Society for three years in the mid-1990s, having edited the Society's Bulletin for most of the 1980s.

 Church background:

My background was in the Church of England; my father, Leonard George Appleton, was an Anglican priest, a Toc H padre, a curate at St Martin-in-the-Fields, a parish priest in London, Devon and Kent, Director of Education for the Canterbury Diocese and a Canon of Canterbury Cathedral. I was christened, raised and confirmed in the church. However, I gave up all personal connection with the Anglican Church 30 years or more ago. I have no membership of any religious group today. So, while I consider that, from my upbringing, and later research, I have a fair understanding of the church, I certainly hold no 'brief' for it.

My father, born in 1900, became an Anglican priest out of a working-class family which had belonged to the Church of England at least from the early 19th century, as far as I can discover from research into family history. His father, my paternal grandfather, had been unable, because of his parents' poverty, to take up a scholarship to a grammar school, and went out to work as a gardener at the age of 12. He was eventually able to operate his own nursery. My father went to grammar school and university on scholarships, being, as far as I can establish, the first in his family to receive anything beyond a primary education; indeed his father's parents were both illiterate.

My father pursued, in the UK, a generation or two later, a very similar course to that pursued by the Black Jamaicans written about on this site.