A Personal Website by
Main Photo Content Jonathan Dabbs
|Dalton History 1|
|Peter Oxley's 1950's|
|Anne's Dalton Parva|
|Allotts of Dalton|
|John Henry Green|
|Halford and Burgin|
|Blyton Family 2|
|Holy Trinity Church|
|Trinity Croft School|
|The Grapes Hotel|
|The Grapes Hotel 2|
|The West Family Photos|
|The Luis Arroyo Collection|
|Old Dalton Parva|
|St Peters Conisbro'|
ARROYO FAMILY OF DALTON
Presented by Luis Arroyo
Left to right
Mr. Manual Arroyo, Manual jnr 16, Luis 15, Carlos 14,
Mrs. Graciela Arroyo, Rosana 13.
Far right Dunstable Engineering Convener Mr. George Slessor
Chile in the 1970's was not the place to be, one General Augusto Pinochet had gained power in 1973 and what was to follow was one of the most unbelievable regimes the World has ever witnessed. Concentration camps, countless tortures and murders, all carried out against people who were considered as opponents to this regime. Unbelievable in that after he was removed from power he still had diplomatic immunity, and under the terms of the constitution he became immune from prosecution in Chile. Even when he was arrested in London on a warrant from Spain requesting his extradition on murder charges, England could not enforce the extradition on international law. The then British Secretary of State Jack Straw had to reverse an earlier decision and released Pinochet on March 2 1998. Pinochet who died aged 90 December 2006, had lost the immunity he enjoyed as a former de facto ruler of Chile, but never stood trial for any of the 3,000 cases of deaths and torture committed, according to an official count.
We can only imagine the stress the people of Chile lived under during this regime but there was escape.
Thousands of Chileans were expelled from Chile, and many more simply fled the country to escape the regime, and in the 1970's the family of a young Luis Arroyo were amongst those many refugees, arriving in England in 1978, many of them like the Arroyo's were adapted by English trade unions. On their arrival the family briefly lived in Luton (Bedfordshire) and featured in a local newspaper article by reporter David White.
© John Doxey
A BARE little terraced house in the grey area of Luton shelters a family who have suffered unspeakable tortures.
They speak no English but they are all learning.
Their aim is to express in our language their deep gratitude to the Vauxhall shop stewards and local trade unionist who have ended their three years of living hell.
The family came from Chile.
Mr. Manual Arroyo, his wife Graciela, and their four children are now living without fear of beatings, torture, and starvation that had become commonplace in their homeland. With tears in his eyes Mr. Arroyo told us through an interpreter this week that he owes everything to the people of Luton who helped him and now visit his family regularly.
Mr. Arroyo 50 was the Regional President of the Millworkers Union. When the Military Junta seized power and murdered Chilean President Allende. Mr. Arroyo was arrested and without trial was interrogated by the secret police.
In a quiet voice he explained that he did not think he would survive the torture. Many of his colleagues and friends didn't.
His family were continually watched. They never knew if he was alive or dead, or where he had been taken. A glimmer of hope appeared when they learned that he was alive and were allowed to visit him.
The Chilean Committee in Britain managed to trace him, unlike many others who vanished.
And this was where the Luton and Dunstable trade unionists, particularly the Park Square Engineering Branch, stepped in.
They wrote to Mr. Arroyo, and the authorities in the oppressive Chilean regime began to allow " sponsored" prisoners to leave the country- Mr. Arroyo was lucky.
The shop stewards and Dunstable Engineering Convener Mr. George Slessor got busy. Within four hours of council approval of the house, furniture, food, and other necessities were pouring in.
Mr. Arroyo finds it hard to talk about his tortures which have left him deaf in one ear. But he was woken at all times of the day and night, forced to do endless physical exercises, interrogated over and over again as the authorities tried to make him betray union friends.
He spent 15 months in a prison in South Chile. He was later moved to what he calls a dungeon where 150 people lived and died.
The family cannot go back to Chile for at least five years.
© David White and the newspaper at the time.
Reading the above leaves you somewhat in awe of the strength of character within Manual Arroyo, and it would be impossible to fully comprehend how a man can survive such maltreatment, but men and women just like Manual somehow survived the evils through the ages. The tragedy is that in our so called advanced modern politically correct World, our Governments stand by whilst the likes of Pinochet inflict suffering on others.
THE FAMILY ARRIVE IN DALTON
[ Rather apt that they should have taken residence in Dalton Brook as the name Arroyo means a stream or brook! See them old western movies learnt you a lot eh! John.]
From Luton the family then moved North to Sheffield, where Luis attended the Firth Park School. Sheffield.
The Rotherham area has welcomed into its midst many refugees in
the last 100 years and the Arroyo family found themselves in Dalton Brook
where they took up residence at number 16 Norwood St in 1979.
However the family faced a few problems with their arrival in
the Rotherham area, as did other Chilean families that had arrived in the area also.
But those difficulties were overcome.
Luis in his time at Dalton would play football on St Gerard's school field.
"At the beginning my life in the UK was not easy by any means. To be faced by the huge cultural change, we
had no choice but to adapt. In fact, everything else was not a choice, it was a case of making the most of each situation…but we managed.
Manual Arroyo at the age of 58 became the Branch secretary of the Sheffield and Rotherham Branch of the Chilean C. U. T. which is the equivalent of the British T. U. C. During the strike the members of the Chilean C. U. T. organised a social fundraiser at Eckington Civic Centre in aid of the dependants of the striking Derbyshire miners. The event raised £100.00 for those dependants.
The other Officials of the Chilean C.U.T. Hector Ormeno branch chairman, and Luis Silva Ortega, shared similar stories to that of Manual Arroyo, Luis Silva Ortega being one of the first Chileans adapted by the British unions. These Chilean refugees without doubt showed that they were a great addition to the local communities into which they had been welcomed.
The adjustments must have been great for the whole family, but adjust they did.
Young Luis evidently has taken great interest in the area and reading between the lines is very proud of the time he lived in Dalton. Luis left Dalton before the re-housing program started.
"My current line of work started in the old mental
health asylum of Middlewood Hospital in Sheffield. This massive institution
was open almost 120 years ago. Originally caring for 2,500’s patients. I
started to work there as a House
Luis produced a sellout calendar containing photos of the Rotherham area recently and as you will see from the photos he has a unique style of taking and producing the photos with the end result of a great perspective and often eerie atmosphere.
To visit the site and view the work of Luis simply click on the image above, I unreservedly recommend a visit.
You can also see the photos Luis took during the demolition of Dalton Brook on this site. The Luis Arroyo Collection
The battle within Chile did not cease with the removal of Pinochet, many of the anti-democratic laws introduced by the dictator were not removed, and today the trade unions within Chile are still fighting for those democratic rights.
Below an extract from an analysis prepared by COHA Research Associate
September 1st, 2006
There is a web site for the people of Chile within the Sheffield area with a wide range of subjects including News, Photos, events etc. If you are from Chile, visit the website, which is mainly written in Spanish.
Chile SCDA Site Admin
Additional text, research and formatting John Doxey
Many thanks to Luis for sharing his families remarkable story here
This site is listed as a local source of History on
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