The name ‘Windrush generation’ has been given to people who migrated from the Caribbean to the UK between 1948 and 1973. Not all people who came to live in the UK during this time came on the same Empire Windrush ship.
75 years ago, in 1948, the Windrush journey took 33 days, however for some, the journey to the UK from the Caribbean could take up to four weeks. When the Empire Windrush first docked at Tilbury, on 22nd June 1948, there were 1027 passengers on board, with over half coming from the Caribbean Island of Jamaica.
After the Second World War, the British Nationality Act of 1948 gave people living in the British Empire, and later the Commonwealth, the right to live and work in the UK.
There was a lot of work available and the UK needed workers from across the world to come and help rebuild the country after the destruction of the war. Many people travelled to the UK to make new homes, many of whom had fought in the British armed forces during the war.
The NHS was created in 1948 and needed to recruit many healthcare workers. Jobs were advertised across the British Empire. People from across the Caribbean got jobs working in hospitals, transport and other areas of work using a wide variety of skills desperately needed in the UK.
The contributions of the Windrush generation to the UK can never be underestimated. In 2018, Windrush Day was announced. It will be held on 22nd June each year to help highlight the rich legacy and contributions of the Windrush generation to the UK.