Thomas McMeekin

Thomas McMeekin’s Tea Times

In this documentary, photographer Andrew McMeekin retraces the journey of his grandfather Thomas McMeekin, a pioneer tea planter of India. 

"This film is in every sense original. Gaining access into an almost secret world we established reciprocal trust and respect with the people we filmed and overcame restraints of old fashioned protocol.

The subject choice was prompted by mother’s death. Her papers had revealed details of the fascinating life of my great grandfather. I knew our family had tea in its blood and the documents brought memories back to life again. I decided that Thomas McMeekin’s story as a pioneer tea planter in India deserved to be told. 

My story gave back a missing part of the puzzle of tea garden history as little documentation remained following the Bangladesh War of Independence. The camera brooked language barriers which could have been a hurdle. Food and music also proved useful communicators! 
The most important thing I have learned is that the old adage ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ holds true. The will overcame a whole cluster of ‘impossibles’ whilst filming. By remaining undaunted, never inflexible, presenting a true picture and never exploiting there was a way."

Andrew McMeekin