- External URL: https://www.windrushday.org.uk/
22 June 2021 marks the fourth national Windrush Day and 73 years since the first Caribbean migrants arrived to the UK to help re-build Britain after the Second World War.
Windrush Day is an observed day (not a bank holiday) introduced in June 2018 on the 70th anniversary of the Windrush migration. It was instituted following a successful campaign led by British Jamaican and political activist Patrick Vernon OBE. We celebrate this day to bring awareness to the vast contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants.
After World War II, the United Kingdom’s economy needed to be repaired. Most industries needed resources, intelligence and hardworking individuals to rebuild the country, thus the British government recruited Afro-Caribbean people and offered them jobs. These jobs included the production of steel, coal, iron, and food, and also jobs in the service sector, such as running public transport and staffing the new National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
On 22 June 1948, Caribbean people were brought to Tilbury Docks, Essex, in the UK, on the Empire Windrush ship. The exact number of people onboard the Empire Windrush is unknown (as reports at the time stated that the number of people was 492, but the ship’s records show that the ship was carrying 1,027 passengers).
The first Afro-Caribbean people in the United Kingdom faced extreme racism from the majority of the white population. Although Afro-Caribbean people were encouraged to settle in the United Kingdom and take up employment to relieve the labour market by the authorities, many early immigrants were denied access to private employment and accommodation because of the colour of their skin. Black people were also banned from many pubs, clubs, and even churches.
Without the contributions from those that bravely moved from their home in the Caribbean and answered the call from the United Kingdom to rebuild the country, the UK, as we know would be a very different place.