Today, 22 June, at The Urswick School in Hackney we remembered the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. We also celebrated the Windrush generation and their descendants who have brought so much to this country.
In special assemblies our children learnt about the group who arrived in London from the Caribbean, some of whom had been in Britain during the Second World War in the RAF or the army or working in munitions factories. Life was hard in the Caribbean in the 1940s especially following a hurricane in Jamaica in 1944. At the same time Britain was very short of workers to help run the transport system, the postal service and hospitals.
We explained that many of those who set out to establish a better life in Britain were victims of racism and discrimination and found it very difficult to adjust to poor quality housing, especially in London and other large cities – not to mention some very cold winters!
Even in recent times the Windrush Generation were subject to challenges including whether they actually hold the legal right to remain in this country. There is still a sense of injustice about what became known as The Windrush Scandal.
This was vividly brought to life in a drama performance by 7GRB directed by Ms Panayiotou (Head of Drama). Our school choir also filled the room with Music.
Throughout the day our school was filled with live music by Pan Nation UK who helped us celebrate Caribbean Life and Culture with their steel pans.
Our Empire Windrush 75 year celebration lunch by Harrison Catering included Brown Stew Chicken with Dumplings, Chick Pea Curry and Roti, Rice and Peas, Fried Plantain followed by Spiced Hummingbird Cake.
Richard Brown, Executive Head said: “Many of our children are of Caribbean heritage. Today is such a significant anniversary and a chance to learn about all the challenges the Windrush Generation had to overcome. As a school we want to be a safe and inclusive space for everyone. We also want to have fun – which is something else today was all about. I even got to wear my West Indies cricket tie!”