Windrush Day: Celebrating 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush
16 June 2023
In April 1948, Windrush arrived at the port of Tilbury from Bombay (now Mumbai). Then, rather than returning to the Far East, Windrush made her first – and only – trip to the Caribbean.
Many of her passengers – machinists, electricians, carpenters, welders, engineers, and mechanics – had skills the UK needed to fill the labour shortages in the transport and construction industries.
On Thursday 22 June, Southwark Council will be joining people across London and the UK to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, and the legacy of the Windrush generation.
"The 75th anniversary of the Windrush arrival in the UK is a time to celebrate the incredible contribution of the Windrush Generation; those who left their homes in the Caribbean to answer a call for help to rebuild Britain. They brought their skills, talents and cultures, enriching our borough and country.
The Windrush Generation, their children and grandchildren, continue to play an enormous role in what makes Southwark such a fantastic place to live to this day. A place of vibrancy and opportunity.
To mark this important anniversary, there will be an array of events, hosted by local organisations, that will be showcasing the cultural richness, creativity and diversity of our borough while commemorating the legacy of the Windrush generation".
Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of the Council
You can read more about the Windrush and one particular Southwark resident, Sam King, who became known as Mr Windrush, in our summer edition of Southwark Life, which will be hitting doorsteps from Monday 19 June.
How can I get involved?
There are lots of events taking place in Southwark to mark the anniversary.
Windrush 75 – A celebration of the Windrush Generation in Southwark
- free event open to all - we hope you can join us with your family and friends
- Wednesday 21 June at 6pm
- tickets for the live event are now sold out, but you can watch the event being live-streamed on the night here
There will be a Q & A Audience with Mr Arthur Torrington CBE, Director and co-founder of the Windrush Foundation. Since 1996, this charity has been working to highlight the contributions to the UK of African and Caribbean peoples, "to keep alive the memories of the young men and women who were among the first wave of post-war settlers in Britain", and to promote good community relations.
We will also be joined by Mr Rudolph Malcolm Walker CBE, Trinidadian-British actor, best known for his sitcom roles as Bill Reynolds in Love Thy Neighbour (1972–76), Constable Frank Gladstone in The Thin Blue Line (1995–96) and since 2001, and has played Patrick Trueman in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. In 2009, the Rudolph Walker Foundation was established to provide inspirational role models and positive activities that empower young people to overcome obstacles and build positive futures.
The Radiate Festival
- tickets are available on the Radiate Festival website
- Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June 2023
- Burgess Park, London
The idea to create the Radiate Windrush Festival was formed in 2017. The goal was to produce a black-owned and run festival, which would reflect the intersectionality of subcultural groups across the Caribbean and Africa, while highlighting the obvious merge with British culture itself. It also highlighted the often overshadowed Creole elements in the Black Community. Once launched it became the annual celebration to acknowledge the newly formed National Windrush Day created in 2018.
Windrush 75th Anniversary grants
In April 2023, the council launched a grants programme to fund community events to commemorate 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush.
The Windrush 75 Commemoration Fund was made available to local organisations, including community groups, charities, and schools, who are planning events that honour the legacy and contributions of the Windrush generation and Commonwealth communities who emigrated to the borough during the post-war period.
The influence of Southwark’s rich mix of migrants from across the world has played an integral role in shaping the borough’s cultural identity from the array of local culinary options to dynamic theatre performances. Recognising the ongoing challenges faced by minorities, the council committed to Southwark Stands Together, a long-term borough-wide initiative to take action against prevalent racism and injustice.
The grants were available for events organised by all migrant Commonwealth communities.
The grant-funded events will be taking place throughout the summer. Find a list of these and other Windrush events.
Windrush Compensation Scheme
The Home Office’s Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched three years ago and is available to people of all ages and nationalities including those from African, Asian and Caribbean backgrounds, for those that have suffered – whether in a big or small way – because they couldn’t prove their legal right to live in the UK.
Southwark Law Centre has a dedicated Windrush Justice Clinic that can offer free independent legal advice so that people can successfully apply for compensation that accurately reflects their loss and suffering.
You can claim if you, your parents or your grandparents came to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973 or came to the UK from any country before 31 December 1988, and are now settled here. You can also claim on behalf of a close family member, parent or grandparent, even if they have passed away.
The council stands in solidarity with our residents who are facing unacceptable wait times and unnecessary administrative barriers to access the Home Office’s Windrush Compensation Scheme. We denounce the fact that Windrush caseworker levels are still not at the levels promised by the Home Office and deplore the Hostile Environment endemic within the Home Office, resulting in some claimants still having to wait 18 months for their cases to be fully processed - a concern that the council has continued to raise since the scheme opened.
Page last updated: 16 June 2023