Celebrating Windrush 75
22 June 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush which brought over 490 passengers from the Caribbean countries of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in 1948 into the UK. The arrival of mostly Caribbean men and a few women on the Windrush would commence the rise of mass migration of people from Caribbean territories, former colonies of Great Britain, into the ‘Motherland’. These men and women would join a small group of Caribbean men who served in the RAF during World War II and had settled in cities and towns across the UK. This was the early evolution of the British Caribbean communities.
Leeds has been one of those cities. A few Jamaican men settled in Leeds after serving in the RAF; three of them were Errol James, Glen English and Marcus Roy Mitchell. They would later be joined by 5 Jamaican passengers from the MV Windrush: Alford Gardener, Gladstone Gardener, Winston Stewart, Noel Edwards and Cliff Hall, who travelled from Tilbury Docks to make Leeds their home. From 1950 -1970, hundreds of thousands of Caribbean people were invited by the UK government to fill jobs mainly in engineering and textile factories, transport, health sector and more, to bolster the British workforce and industries which needed rebuilding after massive losses in World War II.
HERE: Honouring the Windrush Generation of Leeds
The Jamaica Society Leeds is working in collaboration with the St Kitts & Nevis Association to honour and salute the Windrush generation of Leeds by producing a series of public installations across the city and feature 75 larger than life portraits of the Windrush generation residents of Leeds.
The project “Here: Windrush 75 Leeds” aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the contribution of the Caribbean people to the social and economic life of the city to a wider audience.
This project aims to be the first type of large-scale public realm work in our city to honour the Windrush generation and their contribution to Leeds. The project will also deliver community engagements, Windrush Day event, workshops with young people in schools, publicity campaign promoting the installations and an online gallery of the portraits as a legacy of the project.
75 Portraits for 75 Years
Public installations hold the potential to be viewed up to be view hundreds of thousands of times. This will make a bold statement about the Windrush story to Leeds residents and visitors. We want to say we are here in the UK; we belong here and we are here to stay.
We want these installations and activities to:
- Educate the people of Leeds about the Windrush story, build awareness and deepen understanding about the Windrush generation and their descendants.
- Foster a greater sense of pride and recognition of the contributions made by the Caribbean communities to the city of Leeds over more than seven decades.
- To educate young people about this area of UK history and to inspire the next generation to pursue their aspirations and contribute to British society.
Look out for news and announcements of our Windrush 75 activities.
Funded by the Windrush Day Scheme Grant, The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Inkind support from JC Decaux and Leeds City Council.