Anniversary exhibition to celebrate seven decades of Windrush generation
PUBLISHED: 12:19 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:20 19 June 2018
An exhibition exploring Brent’s Caribbean heritage and marking 70 years since the arrival of Empire Windrush will open in the library in Willesden Green on Thursday.
Windrush 70 – Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation uses a mixture of photographs, stories, poems and historic objects to tell the story of the Caribbean diaspora.
The Windrush generation was named after the ship, Empire Windrush, which arrived at the Tilbury docks on 22 June 1948 from the Caribbean. Passengers had been invited to come to Britain to help with post-war reconstruction.
The people interviewed for the Windrush 70 project came here to take up jobs in fields such as medicine, transport, construction and politics.
One of the oldest participants is Norman Watson Mitchell MBE, 97. He arrived from Jamaica in 1955 to work as a glass-quality control inspector. His first home in London was in Forest Hill where he lived in cramped conditions, sharing a house with 15 Caribbean migrants.
Two years later he moved to Harlesden where he found the people “social”, which reminded him of home.
His family, including his daughter Liz Mitchell - who went on to become an acclaimed reggae singer and member of Boney M - came over to join him.
He still lives in Harlesden and was awarded an MBE for community work and service in 2014.
“We have met some inspirational people and uncovered some truly emotional stories, which has highlighted the resilience, pride and courage of the Windrush community who came here to strive for a better life,” said Zerritha Brown, artistic director of Windrush 70.
Project assistant Kyron Greenwood added: “I am of Caribbean descent and have a grandfather who came over to the UK a few years after the Empire Windrush
“I am aware that a lot of young people, even those who are of Caribbean descent, don’t know much about this history so this project is a great way to raise awareness of these moving and interesting stories.”
There are also events planned around the anniversary, including a Windrush Celebration Day on Saturday 23 June that will take place at the library,