Windrush Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury, near London, on 22 June 1948.
The arrival of the Empire Windrush 72 years ago marked a significant moment in Britain’s history.
After WWII, Britain invited citizens of commonwealth countries to help rebuild the country as there was a shortage of labour. The Windrush generation made enormous contributions to the country and public services, and through their descendants they continue to enrich our shared social, economic, cultural and religious life. Britain would be much diminished without their contributions.
Though the Windrush generation had the right to settle in the UK under the Nationality Act, many experienced blatant racism upon arrival, which affected their work and living arrangements. They were negatively impacted further by legislative changes to the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the 'hostile environment' policy 2012 that followed, and the culmination of the news of the Windrush scandal in 2018, the impact of which is still ongoing.
A staff member of Tes recently shared that Windrush was “part of my father's history, who came from Trinidad and Tobago to join his mother, along with many others. He had to fight to stay in this country only a few years ago at the risk being sent to a "home" country, risk leaving us behind, to a country that he didn’t recognise. Most interestingly, I only learnt about Windrush through my dad, my aunties and also my mother who learnt from them. If I only learned what I did in school, I would have had no idea about my heritage, and what my family before me contributed to this country. This was never taught to me as part of "British" history.”
It is of vital importance that all children and young people understand this part of British history, this black British history.
Here are some really helpful resources we have gathered to help you understand the journey stories of the Windrush generation and the lives they lived in Britain.