Elkana Manasseh Lewis, who moved to the country from St Kitts in 1954, was among the first in his generation to make a life in England.
Having spent the last 70 years in Leeds, he has seen vast changes in the fabric of the city and paints a very different picture of the community where he settled in the 20th Century.
The centenarian has lived under three different monarchs and will celebrate the milestone birthday tonight with family and friends.
Born in Antigua, Mr Lewis moved to St Kitts as a child. At the age of 18, he joined the police force and enjoyed the respected status afforded to him by the upstanding career.
But while crime rates on the Caribbean island were low, the job was not without its difficulties.
Station officers were strict and ran the force like the military, with policemen sharing barracks and constantly being on duty. The young policeman served 11 years, before deciding to move to England.
His moving came some years after the arrival of the Windrush generation, but many people from the Caribbean were still coming to England for the same reasons. They would hear of job prospects and friends who had made their lives abroad.
“It was a very different environment, we were confused by it at first,” he recalled.
Mr Lewis vividly remembers seeing chimneys on the skyline, something which was uncommon in St Kitts as the climate was so much warmer. He assumed the landscape was populated by lots of tiny factories, only later learning that these were houses.
Arriving in Plymouth, Mr Lewis headed straight to Cardiff where he expected to meet friends. But by the time he got there, they had already moved to Leeds, so it was only a short stay for him in Wales.
He moved into a house in Chapeltown which he shared with up to eight other men.
One of the first culture shocks was the English food. He missed his beloved Caribbean cuisine, but as more people arrived in England from abroad, the variety of flavours improved. Shop owners would realise there was a profit to be made as immigrants requested exotic ingredients.
They included items that we might take for granted nowadays, like sweet potatoes. Still, getting their hands on spices that would have been commonplace back home was more difficult.
Attitudes were very different in England in 1950s, but Mr Lewis said he did not face direct racism, although he said that white people were often surprised by his ability to speak English.
He explained: “It was the language we spoke in school, we didn’t speak any other language. People just thought we wouldn’t know it. The education in St Kitts was the same as here, because it used the colonial system. I came here equipped. I came here with knowledge.”
Mr Lewis remembered his first job in England.
“I went to the labour exchange to sign in and I had my passport, which said I was a policeman," he explained.
"The gentleman at the desk told me it was no use here and I wouldn’t find a job like that. So, he put me under ‘engineer’.
“I didn’t know anything about being an engineer. Back home, an engineer is a very skilled job. But in this context it just meant working in a factory. They could even have you sweeping, but I didn’t know that then. I went in as a machine operator at a factory in Hunslet. It was making piston rings for cars.
“When I first walked in and heard the noise of the machines, I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage it. But the work was easy, I learned it in a day. I was there for around two years, before taking on a job making parts for TVs. I finished at Turbine Components Ltd in Yeadon, making turbine parts for planes. That’s where I took early retirement after I had been working there for 16 years.”
Leeds has changed significantly in the time Mr Lewis has lived in the city, recalling the Chapeltown area being "built around me".
He said: "It was a completely different place. When I came, there were only houses and streets. It was all you could see. The pub would have been the main entertainment, there was one on every corner – and a cinema. It was a more industrial city too."
Mr Lewis maintains a curiosity for the constantly evolving and expanding city. Whenever a new development springs up, his family said he is always keen to take a walk down to see it.
He lived with his wife Muriel for many years, a dressmaker from St Kitts, who he married in 1946. Sadly, she died in 2012. The couple had three children together, all of whom now live in Canada. Not only is he a grandfather of eight, he also has four great-great grandchildren.
Mr Lewis, who has been described by friends as an active 100-year-old, often finds people keen to ask him about reaching the milestone age.
But he said: “Most of the time, I don’t even realise the age that I am. People will say to me, how do you do it? But it’s not really something that you do. It’s just something given to you.”