75 Years Ago Today Ship Empire Windrush Landed with First Caribbean Migrants to Britain.

Clothing fashions appear to have changed a great deal since 1948.
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By Editor-June 22nd, 2023.

Events are taking place across Britain this week to mark Thursday’s 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, the ship bringing new arrivals to the UK from the Caribbean, which docked in Tilbury on 22 June 1948.

The Windrush flag is being raised in more than 200 locations across England and Wales, including at the Houses of Parliament and the Home Office; all Network Rail stations; over 20 hospitals and NHS sites; around 50 local authorities; and at dozens of churches, schools, universities, theatres and community organisations.

Photo credit: https://www.windrush75.org/
The Widrush flag is being hoisted all over Britain today on the 75th anniversary of the inaugural voyage bringing British-born migrants from the Caribbean to live and work in Britain.

The Port of Tilbury marks the anniversary with a day of celebrations on 22 June. Free events at the London Cruise Terminal include performances by Woodside Academy steel band ‘Woodside Steel’; a Windrush exhibition by artist EveWright with workshops and talks from the National Archives; and an ‘Ageless Teenagers Caribbean Tea Dance’.

75 years have gone by since the first of the Windrush generation arrived in the UK – a landmark moment that altered the course of British history. But what does the day mean to them?
BBC Community reporter  Ashitha Nagesh spoke to a number of older people at a community center in Croydon, near London who had arrived in the UK in the earlier years of the Windrush era.

“Coming from the different islands, we have done a lot in this country – I say we have put the ‘Great’ in Britain,” said Joan Harry, who came to the UK in 1960, aged 19.

She was one of thousands of people who made the move from the Caribbean between the late 1940s and early 1970s, known as the Windrush generation.

Ashitha Nagesh discussed the anniversary with her and some of her friends in a nostalgic recreation of a classic, mid-century British-Caribbean home, run by the Windrush Generation Legacy Association, tucked away in a Croydon shopping centre.

“It means a lot – because it’s about memory, and it reminds you of how Windrush came about,” she said.

“We have worked hard to put this legacy forward – that is a mark that our children can look back and say, ‘our forebears did that’.”


June Grandison, meanwhile, tells me that many believed that their stay in the UK would only be brief.

“I came here in 1962,” Ms Grandison recalled. “I thought I was coming for five years, and then would go back home to practise as a nurse. But 60 years later, I’m still here!”

For others, the day has also brought up a lot of memories of when they first arrived here.

Joycelyn Styles, who arrived in 1962 aged 12, vividly remembered what a shock the climate was and says she has still not quite got used to it.

“It was cold and miserable then and it’s cold and miserable now,” she laughed, tongue in cheek.

But while there was a lot of light for this generation, there has also been shade.

Ms Grandison told me of one of her earliest experiences of discrimination in this country, which is still vivid in her mind.

“Before I did nursing, I applied for a job in the West End – not knowing anything about racism, because of course we came from the mother country,” she said.

“My [maiden] name was ‘Brookes’. I applied for the job, I went for the interview, and the lady put me in a room and she never came back to me. I sat there for about six hours, and then the shop was closing, and so I left.

“Because my name was ‘Brookes’, they thought when I applied that I was an English person.”

In the last five years, the name “Windrush” has become synonymous with injustice. The Windrush scandal affected thousands of people from former British colonies who moved to the UK before immigration laws changed in 1971.Sources: BBC, Wikipedia, Windrush75.org

They were given the permanent right to live and work in the UK, but not the documentation to prove this.

This meant they were later denied employment, housing and benefits to which they were entitled. Many were also deported.

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