London celebrations

Where to celebrate Windrush Day 2022 in London

Image: public domain

Windrush Day – June 22 – marks the anniversary of the SS Empire Windrush docking at Tilbury in 1948, bringing Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the UK.

Many of these passengers stayed, settling in London or further afield, finding jobs, raising families and becoming part of their local communities.

More recently, the Windrush Scandal made headlines with people who arrived on the Windrush and by other means being wrongfully detained or deported despite having the rights to live in the UK. It was the Windrush scandal that intensified the campaign for Windrush Day to be recognized, and the first official windy day took place in 2018, to recognize the contributions made by migrants to British society, as well as to celebrate their heritage.

Here is a selection of ways to celebrate Windrush Day this year.

Radiate Windrush Festival 2022, Burgess Park

A merchant at Radiate Windrush Festival 2019

This family festival was created five years ago to celebrate Caribbean and Creole culture across Britain. Previously held at Crystal Palace, it is moving to Burgess Park for 2022, but retains the same philosophy of diversity and expression of black culture. For two days, experience:

  • A live music and dance stage, with 50 acts over the two days, showcasing soul, reggae and other genres with their roots in black culture;
  • A foodie village with vendors serving food from the Caribbean and parts of Africa;
  • A Lingo Wall, filled with words and phrases from Patwa, Creole, Road Talk and other dialects you’ll likely hear in the Caribbean;
  • An Elder’s Garden, where older members of the community can play dominoes and show off their Chicago Step dance moves;
  • Classic vehicles from the 1930s on display by Afro Classics Register, the UK’s largest African and Caribbean motoring club.

See the complete program for this year’s Radiate festivalwhich takes place on June 25 and 26.

Legacy: London Transport’s Caribbean workforce at the London Transport Museum

two men in carnival attire hanging from the ceiling of an aerial train
Burrokeets Mas Band taking the London Overground to the Notting Hill Carnival 2015. © TfL

The London Transport Museum’s current exhibition highlights London’s transport workers from the Caribbean. Between 1956 and 1970 many workers were recruited directly from Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica, traveling to London to take on roles such as bus drivers and station staff on the transport network, but struggled against issues such as racism, poverty and the British weather. The exhibition features mementos of first, second and third generation Caribbean people who have worked for London Transport or are still working for Transport for London (TfL). It is open until 2024.

There is a special Friday late on June 17, linked to the exhibition, with Caribbean cuisine from Black Eats London, performances by the Metronome Steel Orchestra and a carnival parade, as well as a chance to hear directly from members of the Windrush generation.

Stand-Up For Windrush at Hackney Empire

Hackney Empire Hosts Stand up for Windrush on June 19, an evening of music and comedy celebrating black British artists and the contributions of Caribbean and African migrants to British culture.

It is hosted by BBC Radio London presenter Eddie Nestor MBE, with Richard Blackwood, Curtis Walker, Thanyia Moore, Travis J, BiBi Crew, Darran Griffiths, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Felicity Ethnic and Steppaz Ltd all scheduled. A percentage of profits goes to support families affected by the Windrush scandal.

Visit Tilbury

Tilbury Docks is where the Empire Windrush docked on June 21, 1948 and where passengers spent the night before disembarking the next day – not that you would have known until recently, as this huge chapter of the British history has remained completely unmarked.

A commemoration plaque and flag are now on display at Tilbury Cruise Terminal in London. Additionally, for Windrush Day 2021, a special art exhibit has been unveiled. The Footbridge of Memories at Tilbury Bridgethe work of artist EVEWRIGHT, is an art and sound installation on a catwalk through which passengers of the Empire Windrush entered Britain, in what is now London Cruise Terminal.

It features images, documents and memorabilia from 130 members of the Windrush generation, across 432 different panes, with audio stories playing as you walk. It was originally supposed to last until June, but was extended until 2023, despite try to vandalize it in September 2021. The visit is free.

There is another plaque marking the arrival of the Windrushers at Westminster at Paddington Station.

Join local Windrush Day celebrations in your community

Celebrate Windy Day at National Maritime Museum

Many areas and communities in London hold their own Windrush Day celebrations. Below are the ones we know about this year – let us know about the others in the comments.

BRIXTON: Author Tony Fairweather launches his new book, Twenty Eight Pounds Ten Shillings – A Windrush Storyat Brixton Library, on the two-week trip that many West Indian youths experienced on the Empire Windrush. June 16

ISLINGTON: Head toward Brickyard Community Center for Islington Council’s Windrush Day event, with speeches from The bRepair Shop host Jay Blades MBE, MP Emily Thornberry and local community leaders – plus a chance to hear from Islington alumni which arrived in the UK during the Windrush period, as well as Caribbean food and drink, and music. June 22

BREN: Willesden Green Library organizes a day of discussions and activities celebrating the Caribbean Diaspora, including story time for children under 5 years old. June 22

PIMLIC: Caribbean art, craft and storytelling are all featured in the City of Westminster’s Windrush Day event at Pimlico Library. June 22

NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, GREENWICH: Choir performances, Soca and Calypso costume exhibits, dance lessons, domino demonstrations and curator talks are all part of the Windrush Day event at the National Maritime Museum (also, scroll down to at the bottom of this page for Windrush Day online resources). June 22

ON LINE: The Windrush Foundation – a charity which carries out heritage projects to highlight the contribution of African and Caribbean people to British life – runs an online celebration of Windrush Dayenjoying the life of the pioneers of Windrush. June 22

TOTTENHAM: Fittingly, the Bernie Grant Arts Center – named after the former local MP who emigrated from British Guiana to the West Indies – hosts the Windrush Day event in Tottenham. The main event takes place on Saturday, a carnival party with live music, arts, crafts and games. June 25 (part of a extended week of celebrations)

NEWHAM: Stratford Old Town Hall hosts a day-long celebration for all ages, including workshops for anyone wishing to trace their Windrush* ancestry, a steel band and reggae choir, Caribbean market stalls and refreshments and a parade of fashion. June 25

WALTHAM FOREST: Watch a film from the Phoenix Dance Theater Windrush: people’s movement, a contemporary dance work exploring the narrative of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush. Takes place in St-Pierre-en-la-Forêt. June 25

* For anyone interested in tracing their Windrush ancestry using passenger lists, there are other special events at Ealing Central Library (June 21) and Dalston CLR James Library (June 23) to help you on your way.

Visit Brixton’s Black Cultural Archive

Visit the Black Cultural Archive

Conveniently located in Windrush Square, the Black Cultural Archive houses a reading room, library and exhibition space, dedicated to collecting and recording the stories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. There are several books on the Windrush generation, and the archive also contains copies of the Nationality Act 1948 – which gave all colonial subjects British citizenship – and later immigration laws which attempted to suppress this right. In 2021, the BCA has partnered with TfL to publish a Black History Tube map, with each stop named after an important figure in British Black history.

It is open to the public, or you can explore many of its documents online, as well as view digital exhibits.

Get involved in Caribbean culture here in London

Caribbean-inspired dishes at Negril

From Caribbean restaurants and bars to Caribbean-influenced musical nights, the legacy of the Windrush generation and their descendants is more alive than ever in London – and it’s there all year round.

Why not try some of the best Caribbean restaurants in London, including the Jamaican Negril in Brixton (jerk chicken is something else). rum cooking, with branches in Soho, Shoreditch and Brixton, specializes in dishes like saltfish fritters and goat curry, washed down with rum cocktails and accompanied by carnival-inspired music. Alternatively, get to know the Caribbean’s favorite spirit at London’s best rum bars.

There’s not too much rum to rum cooking

Music is a strong tradition among Londoners of Caribbean descent, thanks in large part to calypsonians from The Windrush, like Lord Kitchener, The Mighty Terror and Lord Beginner, whose songs were inspired by all aspects of their new life here. in London.

Busspepper Events specialize in Caribbean nights in Londonincluding regular bacchanal Fridays inspired by pre-carnival parties in Trinidad, with Soca music – an offshoot of the Calypso genre – a specialty. Brixton JamHoxton’s Trojan bar and Hootananny Brixton are all to watch for regular reggae parties.

And then, of course, there is the carnival. Over the August bank holiday weekend, the streets of West London come alive to the sound of Mas, Soca and Calypso for Notting Hill Carnival.

Learn more about the Windrush generation

Our Windrush Day 2021 guide included some suggested reading on the subject, whether you want to learn more about the personal stories and struggles of the Windrush generation, or learn more about (or even try) Caribbean cuisine.

The Museum of London Docklands also has some online resourcesincluding photographs, documents and a chance to listen to the members of the Windrush generation tell their stories.

And again, we cannot overstate the fantastic work that the Brixton Black Cultural Archive does in recording and sharing the history of Caribbean and African communities here in the UK. In particular, the Windrush: what’s next? podcast, looks to the future in the wake of the Windrush scandal.