As this exhibition has shown, Lyme has had people from many different ethnic minorities for a long time. Today there are comparatively few people from ethnic minority backgrounds living here, and those there are do tend to ‘blend in’. This has good aspects, but it also has bad ones. Local people do not see that there is any problem with racism as there are ‘no minorities here’.
Interviews with local people suggest that being of ethnic minority background in Lyme can cause problems in teenage years, for example being ‘different’ adding to the usual teenage problems.
A girl who grew up in Lyme and moved away says ‘I see it as a white man’s area, although it is not as much of a shock now to see a black person. I hated the looks I used to get from people, but sometimes I thrived on this and tried to make it positive and think I am different, I am special’. She felt so aware of her difference that she thought she should not apply for jobs working with the public, only those behind the scenes.
A woman who moved to Lyme when she was 20 with a child, thought the town unwelcoming at first, but realised later that ‘many people from outside the town feel this way when they come here. It’s not just the black or ethnic minority people, but anyone different who take some time to be accepted’.
All these photographs are of people who live in Lyme now, or have done in the recent past.