On 22 June 1948, Caribbean migrants arrived in the UK on the SS Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in Essex, their first stop before travelling towards London.
Many people from British Commonwealth countries travelled to the UK between 1948 and 1971, encouraged by the 1948 British Nationality Act that granted citizenship and right of abode to all members of the British Empire.
On arrival in the UK, people were often met with racism, lack of acknowledgement of their professional skills and very different living conditions.
We mark this day to celebrate British Caribbean communities and acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions the Windrush generation and their descendants have made to British society.
“The Windrush arrival marked a turning point, when Caribbeans came here to help re-build Britain, to work in the transport system, factories and the newly created NHS. So for those who had to overcome so much adversity, it has great significance.”
Windrush Day Event Programme
Join us for a day of song, dance and conversation on Wednesday 22 June. Activities will take place from 11am-4pm.
Enjoy a special choir performance by children from Mulgrave Primary School, Plumcroft Primary School and Invicta Primary School along with members of the Caribbean Social Forum. Singers from Ethno Vox have been working with school pupils and the forum members to learn new songs celebrating Windrush and the Caribbean.
Workshops and activities
Dance to the beat: Caribbean Calypso and Soca
Learn some moves to explore Windrush generation dance culture from the Caribbean. Move your body to Soca and Calypso music with specialist dance leaders.
Display of Soca and Calypso dance costumes
Find out about the traditional costumes worn in the Caribbean for Soca and Calypso dance with this display.
Objeks & Tings workshop
In partnership with Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum, this workshop will give Museum visitors the opportunity to explore Caribbean culture through the lens of ‘the things that Caribbeans, especially those of the Windrush Generation hold dear’.
Explore the history of dominos and learn how it’s played Caribbean-style. Test your skills and join a match – who will be the dominos champion?
Birds of the Caribbean with the Garden Museum
Find out more about the birds of the Caribbean with the Garden Museum and create your own Caribbean bird out of clay.
Tours and talks
Find out about links to the Caribbean in the collections at the National Maritime Museum at this curator talk.
Meet Pearl Morris, a Caribbean woman who travelled to Britain in 1948 on the Empire Windrush, a passenger liner that brought one of the first large groups of post-war West Indians to the United Kingdom.
A matron of the Windrush Generation, Pearl will tell you what life was like for a Caribbean woman in Britain in the 50s, and how she made this island her home.
Sowing Roots talk
Hear about the Sowing Roots project at the Garden Museum, an initiative that explores the gardening cultures and traditions of the Windrush generation.
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