James told us, “I was born and grew up in Blantyre. I have written volume 1 of my autobiography: People Like Us Can’t: From bricklayer to nurse to doctor in post-war Scotland. Volume 1: Memoirs of a Brickie From Blantyre. “
Born in the mining village of Blantyre, James Graham’s parents believed working class people didn’t have the intelligence of those who were more affluent. This true story is an account of his journey from accepting his parents’ opinion to a gradual realisation that he was capable of more. It’s a fascinating mixture of personal and social history with captivating and humorous anecdotes. His ancestors are encountered as farm workers, lead miners and house servants in the south of Scotland, and as starving tenant farmers during famine in Ireland. Circumstances lead the families to Blantyre and coal mining, labouring and domestic service. The author’s experience is traced from a war-time childhood through leaving school at fifteen with no qualifications, a bricklaying apprenticeship, nursing, university and qualifying as a doctor. There are obstacles to be overcome and conflict with authority along the way but the dream of being what he was told he couldn’t be drives him on.