75 years ago today, those travelling on the HMT Empire Windrush became known as the Windrush Generation. You can read a brief history below:
The ship HMT Empire Windrush arrived at the Port of Tilbury on 22 of June 1948 and its passengers disembarked a day later. The ship carried 492 Caribbean migrants, many of them veterans of the Second World War. The ship and its passengers have a symbolic status as the start of the Windrush Generation.
The Pathé news footage above captured the passengers' arrival; the report explains how many of the migrants are "ex-servicemen who know England".
Unsurprisingly, the most popular destination recorded by the passengers was London – 296 people named the city as their planned place of residence and a number of others planned to go to Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Plymouth and Bristol. Those that had not already arranged accommodation were temporarily housed in the Clapham South deep shelter, which had been built under the London Underground station as an air-raid shelter during the Second World War.
The nearest employment exchange to Clapham happened to the Coldharbour Lane Labour Exchange in Brixton, less than a mile away. Many of the arrivals sought work here, working for state-run services like the newly-formed National Health Service and London Transport. They then moved into rented houses and rooms in the Brixton and Clapham areas where large Caribbean communities developed. In Brixton, the town’s Windush Square commemorates the ship’s arrival.
Many of Windrush’s passengers originally only intended to stay for a few years and although a number did return, the majority remained to settle permanently and now form a vital part of British society.