The arrival of the Windrush on 22 June 1948 is widely considered the landmark of mass migration to Britain and to celebrate the anniversary there will be a number of events across the country.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the ‘Windrush generation’ and their contribution to modern Britain:
The 65th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock on 22 June 1948 marks a truly historical moment for modern day Britain. Nearly 500 people arrived from the Caribbean that day to find work or a new life, and it led to the transformation of this country into the richly diverse nation it now is.
The early arrivals from the Caribbean came to help rebuild our country after the Second World War. They brought with them the skills and resolve to help get Britain back on her feet and to make a better life for themselves and their families. But as history has shown many of them suffered unjust hardships and barriers – from social exclusion and prejudice to discrimination and racism.
I pay tribute to the Windrush generation and praise their fortitude and determination in overcoming those difficult challenges. Younger generations are rightly very proud of those early pioneers, and while some social issues still need to be tackled, I strongly believe that our country today is an overwhelmingly fair and tolerant one. And this is in part down to the people from the Caribbean and around the world who settled here.
Those early migrants did so much for our country, and paved the way for their children and subsequent generations to make enormous contributions to Britain in the 21st century. Whether this is in the field of public service, business, culture or the arts, the children of the Windrush generation have given so much.
Whenever I meet people from Britain’s African-Caribbean community, I’m always struck by the stories I hear. Stories of guts, determination and sheer hard work. Our island is richer in every sense of the word for your contribution.