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Windrush Day

Authored by Nishah Malik
Published on 22nd June, 2022 2 min read

Windrush Day

The Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury in 1948 with immigrants from Jamaica.

Today, (June 22, 2022), marks the fifth annual Windrush Day in the United Kingdom. This commemorative day was introduced in June 2018 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Windrush migration. 

On June 22, 1948, over 1,000 people from the Caribbean arrived at the Tilbury Docks in Essex on the Empire Windrush. After the Second World War, Britain was short on labour and desperately needed to rebuild the nation. In the post-War years, Britain turned to the Commonwealth nations to fill these labour shortages, and this kickstarted an upsurge of immigration from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The arrival of the Empire Windrush marked a historic moment, as the ship brought the first of the Windrush generation to Britain.

"So, politically, the impact of the Windrush Generation’s arrival expanded the definition of what Britain was.” – Anthony Joseph

Aside from commemorating a historic moment, Windrush Day is also about bringing to light and celebrating the contributions of the Windrush generation and their descendants to British society since the 1940s. 

Following post-War immigration, the definition of what it means to be British has changed drastically and is by no means static. As well as filling labour shortages, the Windrush generation brought with them an explosion of culture (including art, food, writing, music, and dance) which ultimately transformed Britain.

Today is all about acknowledging and celebrating this incredible impact, as well as shining a light on how the foundations for modern-day Black British society were laid. Alongside this, Windrush Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties that the Windrush generation have faced (and continue to face) in British society more generally.

Authored by Nishah Malik

Nishah Malik

Nishah Malik is Collections Editor at British Online Archives. Nishah gained a Masters in History from the University of Derby in 2020. Her research interests centre around South Asian culture and heritage, as well as the history and experiences of the South Asian diaspora. She also has a keen interest in women's history.

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The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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