The arrival of MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in Essex in June 1948 is one of those iconic moments in Britain’s history.
The ship brought hundreds of people from many islands in the Caribbean who came to Britain to build a better life. In the years since, the ship and its passengers have come to represent generations of Caribbean migration to the UK making our society richer and more diverse.
The Windrush arrived on 21 June 1948 and its passengers disembarked on 22 June. This year is the 75th anniversary of Windrush.
The people of the Windrush generation did not receive the warm welcome that they had expected. They and the generations that followed faced discrimination and many other day to day and systemic challenges.
Communities have been celebrating and commemorating Windrush, for generations. In 2018 the Government announced 22 June as the National Windrush Day to pay tribute to the Windrush generation and their descendant.
Owen Henry and his connections to Brighter Places
Many passengers from the Windrush and their descendants settled in Bristol. One was Owen Henry who was the ‘go to man’ for many people from the Caribbean who came to settle in Bristol. He helped with important things like getting a passport or returning ‘home.’
Owen became involved in civil activism and established United Housing Association (UHA), Bristol’s first black housing association, with Guy Reid-Bailey in 1985. UHA merged with Bristol Community Housing Foundation in 2017 becoming United Communities, later one of Brighter Places’ legacy organisations. Read more about the legacy of civil rights and community activism in Bristol that Brighter Places is built on.
He also helped set up the St Pauls Festival committee in 1968 and along with Guy Reid-Bailey was a leading activist in the Bristol Bus Boycott in 1963.
There are a number of Windrush 75 events taking place in Bristol including: