Brigitta Laszlo

Originally from Hungary,  Brigitta discusses how and why she came to England, working hard to support herself and her family and her transition from factory work plus some volunteering to full time work for HANA (Humber All Nations Alliance). She concludes by describing why she now feels that Hull is her home.

Media No: 1067
Interviewee Forename: Brigitta
Interviewee Surname: Laszlo
Year of Birth: 1975
Interviewer: Dan Dearing
Location: Hull Central Library
Date of Interview: 12/09/2016
Duration (HH:MM:SS): 01:19:46

Time Code Notes

[00:00] First came to Hull in 2005 as a single mother who needed money to provide for her family. Born in a small town in Hungary. Social issues with alcohol and domestic violence.

[04:25] Liked school but met someone at age 18 and lost interest in education. Got married and had child, husband left her when child was 2 years old and she was left with nothing. Friend lent her house that was ‘in the middle of nowhere’. Worked 24/7 to support herself and child – shopwork, waitressing, cleaning. Had a nervous breakdown during this period.

[10:00] Hungary joins EU in 2004 and she came to UK to try to work and save money to eventually go back to Hungary and lead a more normal life. Couldn’t speak English at first. Continuously working again to send money home to son and mother.

[11:56] Learning English by watching soaps and X Factor which was very helpful. Fellow factory workers appreciated her trying to learn. Started to help other immigrants from Hungary.

[13:50] Casual waitressing work at Hull City Hall. Decides to bring son over when he was 12, he went to Endeavour High School. Spent one day a week volunteering with Hungarian children.

[16:10] Had another child through a new relationship which didn’t work out. Loved factory work, learning English and making friends. Began working with Humber All Nations Alliance. Description of work and experiences at HANA. Developed relationships and networks. Helping community groups with education, health and policing. Organising children’s activities and social gatherings.

[21:09] Son is going to university here – she has encouraged him to do the things she couldn’t.

[22:30] More detail on process by which she came to UK. New people who had come before and then came over with friends. Knew about available jobs. Very hard work, usually 12 hour shifts. Some friends couldn’t cope and left. Sometimes worked 90-100 hours a week. Lived very cheaply.

[27:30] Experience of first days in Hull, disappointing at first, but learnt to see the good. Parks helped her develop a more positive view.

[30:12] Experience of speaking practically no English. Started working on second day here, didn’t need much English but forced herself to learn. Did Maths and English GCSE at college along with accountancy and care work.

[32:45] First night in Hull and then getting flat in Albany Street through accommodation agency on Spring Bank. Getting work through employment agencies in various factories.

[35:25] Lack of awareness of hate crimes, health and safety at work, tenant’s rights etc. Being bullied in some of her factory work – racism. Thinks there is more help available now.

[37:15] Thoughts on Hungarian friends leaving and being left on her own. Social gatherings as more Hungarians came over.

[39:35] Description of flat on Albany Street and Spring Bank area – very few ethnic/eastern European shops then, this changed over time. Talks about loud neighbours and overhearing domestic violence incidents.

[43:25] How and why she began to see herself as a permanent resident of Hull, including struggles at first with bullying and then getting promoted at work and her son coming over and settling in a new school and then college, plus him learning English.

[50:45] Discusses social life in England and first impressions of English people. Compares socialising and going out in Hungary with the experience here.

[56:20] Younger son who was born here and doesn’t speak any Hungarian – ‘he is English’

[58:30] Discusses switching jobs from factory work to community work at HANA and her role there as ‘Eastern European’ champion – organising community events, advocacy with other agencies, advising on everything from insurance to domestic violence.

[01:06:00] Various houses lived in here, including ‘horrible’ flat on Harley Street with constant police presence in the area. Buying a house in Cottingham.

[01:09:45] Reflects on differences between her experience coming over and someone now – more support now but fewer jobs. Also what she misses about Hungary.

[01:14:30] How British and Hungarian lifestyles differ including holidays, wages, school and social life.

[01:19:10] Reflections on where she considers home to be now.

These time code notes are provided as a rough guide to the above recording. Untold Hull would like to thank all the volunteers who took part for their time and hard work in producing this information.