Windrush 70th Anniversary

Windrush 70

WINDRUSH 70 – Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation


This summer Brent Culture Service will be marking the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush with an exhibition and a number of themed events.

Windrush 70 – Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation traces the historic journey and explores Brent’s Caribbean Heritage through the eyes of its residents. Using a mixture of photographic portraits, stories collected from residents, historic objects and unique artist commissions it celebrates 70 years of the United Kingdom’s Caribbean diaspora.

Intimate portraits of Brent’s Caribbean community by artist and photographer Nadia Nervo offer an insight into their daily lives. Two original poems by Malika Booker narrate the experiences of the community’s first arrival in the ‘Mother Country’.

A commission by Mahogany Carnival Design - made by students from Queens Park Community School, Harlesden Primary School and Alperton High School combines tradition with legacy. An installation of a traditional ‘West Indian’ living room closes the exhibition representing the many homes that have been made in Brent.

Since receiving a master’s degree in Art Communication & Design from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Nervo has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Investigating the relationship between photographer and subject, Nervo often works with strangers to explore the nature of how connections are formed.

Zerritha Brown, Cultural Operations Manager and Artistic Director for Windrush 70 said:

“It was important to mark the 70th anniversary particularly as Brent has a large Caribbean community. The Caribbean diaspora is present in modern life, with influences evident in fashion, music, dance as well as the world of entertainment, sport and politics, yet still the story of Windrush is not widely known. I wanted the exhibition to provide a platform to showcase the stories of the Windrush generation.

“It has been an honour developing Windrush70. 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.”

Intern Assistant Project Producer, Kyron Greenwood said:

“I already knew quite a bit about Windrush before I began work on the project , 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 though, that a lot of young people, even those who are of Caribbean descent, don’t know much about this history and I think this project is a great way to raise awareness of these moving and interesting stories.”

The ‘Windrush’ generation were named from the ship, Empire Windrush, which arrived at the Tilbury docks on 22 June 1948 from the Caribbean. The passengers had been invited to come to Britain to help with the post-war reconstruction. This event is often seen as the beginning of immigration from the Caribbean that would go on to have such a profound and lasting effect on the culture, fashion and music of Britain.

The people interviewed for the Windrush 70 project came here to work in a wide variety of fields. Areas of work included: medicine, transport, industry, music, construction, entertainment, sport, politics and fashion.

One of the oldest participants is 97 year old Mr Rev. Norman Watson Mitchell MBE. He came to Britain from Jamaica in 1955 to work as a Glass Quality Control Inspector. His first home in London was in Forrest Hill where for two years he lived in cramped conditions sharing a house with fifteen other Caribbean migrants, his bedroom was shared with seven other people.

Mr Rev. Mitchell moved to Harlesden in 1957 where he decided to settle as he liked Brent and found the people “social” which reminded him of Jamaica. His family, including his daughter Liz Mitchell who would go on to become an acclaimed reggae singer and member of Boney M, then came over to join him. He still lives in Harlesden and was awarded an MBE for Community Work and Service in 2014.

More details of Mr Rev. Mitchell’s story and those of many other Caribbean migrants can be discovered in the Windrush 70 – Brent’s pioneering Windrush Generation exhibition.

The exhibition will be on 21 June – 29 October at the Library at Willesden Green, entrance to the exhibition is free of charge.  There will also be a series of themed events.

Windrush 70 has been funded by Arts Council England with support from the British Library and Reggae choir.


For further information about Windrush 70 and Brent Culture please contact culture@brent.gov.uk

 

Exhibition and upcoming events

June 2018 marked the 70th Anniversary of the pioneering Windrush generation and Brent Culture service will celebrate this through an exciting programme which includes a free exhibition from June until October.

Exhibition

Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation

The Library at Willesden Green

Celebrating 70 years since the Empire Windrush docked in the UK. An exhibition and display exploring Brent’s Caribbean heritage with photographs of Brent residents by artist Nadia Nervo. Experience a traditional West Indian ‘front room’ with our instillation highlighting items from the local community and Brent Museum.

21 June – 29 October

Exhibition Room

Free

 

Events 

 

Creative Passport: Family Craft Workshop

The Library at Willesden Green

Learn about those who travelled to the UK on the Empire Windrush and create a colourful passport to tell those stories. 

Friday 17 August

Education Room

2pm – 4pm

Free

 

Caribbean Connections

The Library at Willesden Green

Join multiple award winning poet Hannah Lowe to discuss poetry, Caribbean immigration and what it means to be British.

Tuesday 11 September 

Performance Space

6.30pm – 7:30pm

Free

 

The Ice Migration with Author Jacqueline Crooks

The Library at Willesden Green and Kingsbury Library

Gather with author Jacqueline Crooks as she reads from her new book the Ice Migration, a collection of linked short stories which draw on the migration of her Jamaican, Indian and German ancestors.

Tuesday 18 September

Kingsbury Library

11am

Free

 

Thursday 20 September

The Library and Willesden Green

7pm

Free

 

Songs and Stories from a Pioneering Generation

The Library at Willesden Green

Join us for an evening of conversation as we reflect on the impact of Windrush 70 years on. With guest curators from the British Library.

Thursday 11 October

Education Room

6.30pm – 8pm

Free

 

From Ashphalt to Maplewood floor...

The Library Willesden Green

Spend an evening with Namron sharing his dance/life journey through storytelling, audio visuals and live solo dance work. The evening includes an interactive Q&A

Namron OBE travelled from Jamaica to Brent then to Buckingham Palace. After arriving in Willesden aged 10 he took his first dance steps when he joined the Willesden Jazz Ballet in 1961. Taught by Madam Rambert herself, he went on to become a founder member of London Contemporary Dance Theatre and was the first black dancer to be employed by a British dance company.

Friday 12 October

Performance Space

Doors Open 6.30pm

7pm – 8.30pm

£8 in advance via eventbrite (booking fees apply) £12 on the door

2 for1 for Over 65s

Book here

 

Come Mek We Larf: Black History Month Special

The Library at Willesden Green

An evening of side splitting comedy hosted by Mr. Cee.

Friday 19 October

Performance Space

Doors Open 7.30pm

8pm – Late

Tickets £15 (+ booking fee) in advance £20 on the door

 

Caribbean tapestry fun family sewing class

The Library at Willesden Green

Have a go at tapestry, with designs inspired by the Windrush era. Suitable for boys and girls.  Free but arrive early as spaces are limited.

Tuesday 23 October

2.30pm – 4pm

Free

 

Black Genealogy: When Black History meets Black Ancestry

The Library at Willesden Green

Trailblazing author and family historian Paul Crooks captivates his audience with an account of how he traced his African forebears enslaved on a sugar plantation in Jamaica, 200 years ago. Paul Crooks journey of discovery has brought him international recognition for his breakthroughs in African Caribbean genealogy research.

Find out how to start exploring your family history. Who knows? Maybe you'll be inspired to explore your Ancestry.

Tuesday 30 October

Reading Room

6.15pm – 7.45pm

Free

Past events

Exhibition talk

The Library at Willesden Green

Q and A with Curator Shasti Lowton and guest exploring the development of the Windrush exhibition for Brent Museum and Archives.

Thursday 5 July

Performance Space

6:30pm – 7:30pm

Free

Event Day

Windrush Celebration Day

The Library at Willesden Green

A family day event celebrating the pioneering Windrush generation with music and performances from St Michaels and All Angels Steel Band, Namron Dance, the Reggae Choir and a new commission from Impact Dance.

Saturday 23 June

12pm – 4pm

Free

 

Family events:

Caribbean rainbow face painting

Celebrate the islands of the Caribbean and wear an island flag with pride!

12pm – 4pm

Free when you borrow 2 books.

 

Caribbean carnival funky bowl of plenty

From papaya to star apples, guava and sugar apples, star fruit and sapodilla and much more. Get stuck in at this creative pottery workshop and design a bowl for all your treasured Caribbean fruits.

12.30pm – 2pm

Suitable for families with children aged 5 -11

Limited spaces so arrive early

Free

 

Caribbean fun family sewing class

Have a go at sewing inspired by Caribbean designs and traditions. Part of our Windrush 70th Anniversary celebration. Arrive early as spaces are limited.

2.30pm – 4pm

Free

 

Events:

Come Mek We Larf: Windrush Comedy Special

The Library at Willesden Green

A night of comedy featuring Queen of Comedy Felicity Ethnic, Funmbi Omotayo, The Prophet Of Comedy - Kwaku, The Original Nutter Of Comedy - Annette Fagan and many more.

Friday 8 June

Performance Space

Doors Open 7.30pm

8pm – Late

£12 in advance (+ booking fee) and £15 on the door

 

Discover the High Seas: Family Craft Workshop

Ealing Road Library & Harlesden Library Plus

Learn about the arrival of the Empire Windrush and create your own Caribbean marine creature from the deep.

Monday 30 July 

Ealing Road Library

2pm – 4pm
Free

Monday 6 August

Harlesden Library Plus

2pm – 4pm

Free

 

Badge making: Family Craft Workshop

The Library at Willesden Green

Create and colour a badge, drawing inspiration from our exhibition ‘Windrush 70’ and take home your creation.

1 and 22 August

Education Room

2pm – 4pm

Free

 

Travel the High Seas: Family Craft Workshop

Kingsbury Library

Learn about the arrival of the Empire Windrush and create a colourful scene showing its journey across the Atlantic.

Friday 10 August 

Kingsbury Library

2pm – 4pm

Free