Members of the Windrush generation and their families joined HRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at London Waterloo Station on June 22 to witness the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument. The monument will be a permanent place of reflection, fostering greater understanding and celebrating the talent, hard work and contribution of the Windrush generation, who arrived in Britain between 1948-1971.
Designed by renowned Jamaican artist, Basil Watson and delivered with £1 million funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the monument symbolises the courage, commitment and resilience of the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK to start new lives.
It acknowledges and celebrates the Windrush generation’s outstanding contribution and has been created as a permanent place of reflection, to foster greater understanding of the generation’s talent, hard work and continuing contribution to British society. The three figures – a man, woman, and child – dressed in their “Sunday best” are climbing a mountain of suitcases together, demonstrating the inseparable bond of the Windrush pioneers and their descendants, and the hopes and aspirations of their generation as they arrive to start new lives in the UK.
Secretary of State, Michael Gove MP said, “seeing Basil Watson’s magnificent monument, it’s easy to imagine the excitement, hope and apprehension that the Windrush pioneers must have felt as they arrived in the UK. Overcoming great sacrifice and hardship, the Windrush Generation and their descendants have gone on to make an immense contribution to public life. Britain would be much diminished without them.
The year 2022 is the fourth annual National Windrush Day, and this year’s projects will focus on bringing communities together – across different ages and ethnic backgrounds – to commemorate, celebrate and educate their local area about the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants across the country
Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE DL said, “the National Windrush Monument will be a permanent place of reflection, celebration and inspiration for Caribbean communities and the wider public, especially children. “It will act as a symbolic link to our past and a permanent reminder of our shared history and heritage for generations to come. I hope it will be a catalyst for other monuments across Britain commemorating the extraordinary contribution to this country by the Windrush generation.
“I am grateful to the members of the Windrush Commemoration Committee for their boundless dedication to ensuring this monument comes to fruition, and hope the Caribbean communities who we have sought to serve, believe that we have done them justice.”
World renowned Artist/Sculptor Basil Watson who created the Monument stated, “it has been an honour to design and create this monument which pays tribute to the Windrush generation migrants as they arrived in Britain with their dreams and aspirations, courage and dignity, skills and talents. They arrived with the idea of laying a foundation for their families and their future, and a hope of contributing to a society that they expected would welcome them in return.
“From this seemingly auspicious beginning despite many challenges, they spread their culture across Britain, influencing many aspects of the society. “My parents, along with a great many others, took the long arduous voyage from the Caribbean with very little or nothing other than their aspirations, their courage and a promise of opportunity for advancement. This monument tells that story of hope, determination, a strong belief in selves and a vision for the future“
Andrew Haines, Network Rail Chief Executive, affirmed, “We are deeply honoured to be able to host this wonderful monument at London Waterloo station – a place that has a very proud and rich connection to the Windrush generation. After arriving in Britain at Southampton port, thousands upon thousands of Caribbeans travelled to Waterloo before they started their new life across the country. Waterloo is one of the capital’s biggest transport hubs, with millions of passengers passing through this station every year. To have this permanent monument displayed in this easily accessible station, that is right in the heart of London, is a real privilege.
For more information about the Windrush story and the memorial please visit a new website which will go live on June 22: https://url2.mailanyone.net/v1/?m=1o3jwV-000BBT-3a&i=57e1b682&c=N77M-1YdUclZMqM4VNSX4A-39XWOugLjK_tN3W2eIbNjV2UbWiJOsUsYSIWcOePoFcaGPL_Kx3kUo92t2463OO49BYCOw92nHzc9jM4Ho3I7u-gAIKVYRJcN_K_xBqfDSmIx-SwLAm-cpEzKydpjcRUmaOsvJTAXde9s0x1UdQ2wHOwbN02n2uFq507MkkxQHUfMywlKSiMwbWDWoP0ZEOHH8ry8WZDWJS-gUAI83Jk