Northampton to mark 75th anniversary of Windrush with flag raising ceremony and exhibitionPosted 19th June 2023
The Windrush flag will be raised outside the Guildhall at 11.55am Thursday, 22nd June, to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush ship, which docked at Essex in 1948 with 492 passengers, hailing the beginning of a generation of migrants from Caribbean countries who came to Britain to help fill post-War labour shortages.
To mark this anniversary, the Northampton Windrush@75 Working Group, which includes Northampton Windrush Generation and Descendants UK and Friends, the Northamptonshire Black History Association, Northampton Town Council and West Northamptonshire Council are hosting a series of events across Northampton.
Members of the public are invited to observe the flag raising ceremony at the Guildhall, where speeches will also be given by Bishop Donovan Allen, Senior Pastor at the New Testament Church of God and Ray Campbell, Northampton’s Windrush Advisor. A flag raising ceremony will also take place at Swanspool House in Wellingborough at 5pm on the 22nd June.
From Friday, 23rd June, the story of the Windrush migrants who settled in Northampton will be told in a free exhibition at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. The digital exhibition, which runs until Sunday, 13th August in the museum’s Central Hall, provides a snapshot of the lives of West Indians who made their way from London to live and work in the town from the 1950’s onwards.
Northampton’s Windrush Advisor, Ray Campbell said: “The 75th Windrush Anniversary events gives us an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the legacy of the Windrush generation and their descendants. We encourage everyone to visit the exhibition.
“The events will tell the story of the obstacles that the Windrush pioneers had to overcome, detailing their resilience, determination, adaptability and can-do attitude. Sadly, the pain is ongoing for many Caribbean migrants and their families and the injustices of the Windrush scandal, will also be covered.
“Importantly, they will highlight the significant contribution that Caribbean migrants made to the economic, cultural and social development of the county.”
Northampton Town Council received a National Lottery grant to support the Windrush Day events, which will also include a private civic ceremony for members of the local Windrush community, with speeches given by the Lord-Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, the Mayor of Northampton and Windrush ambassadors, advocates and elders.
The Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Stephen Hibbert, said: “Many of those who emigrated from the Caribbean Islands as part of the Windrush generation worked as cleaners, drivers and nurses, or had served in the British Armed Forces in World War Two, so they made a huge contribution to society.
“We come together to mark this important day and honour their contribution and that of their descendants, which shapes the country we live in today, I encourage people to take part in these learning opportunities and events over the coming weeks.”
On Saturday 24th June, Northamptonshire Rights & Equality Council will be celebrating Windrush 75 at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club between 3 and 10pm, with a packed line-up of artists and speakers including Chris Fray, poet Myrle Roach, Black History presenter Tre’ Ventour, the Ras Tafari Edutainer Ras Jabulani, Northampton’s own Robbie Valentine., plus Victor Richards’ acclaimed play – ‘Streets Paved With Gold’ and an update on Windrush compensation support. Tickets are available from Eventbrite.
On Sunday 25th June between 11am and 1pm, the Northampton Windrush@75 Service of Thanksgiving will be taking place at Northampton New Testament Church of God led by Northampton Windrush Bishop Donovan Allen.
On Friday 30th June, Dr Marcella Daye, from the University of Northampton is leading a Windrush 75 Legacy Celebration event at the university which is open to all, with speakers including the Home Office Engagement Team, Poet and Actor Victor Richards, Northampton Windrush Musical Ambassador Daniel Johnson, Trev Hall, Musician/Artist Ras Jabulani, London University Researcher Dr Juanita Cox. To find out more, please email email@example.com
Then later on Friday 30th June, there will be a Windrush after party for over 18s, starting at 8.30pm at the Wedgewood on Abington Street.
Finally, on 22nd July, the Windrush 75 Community Choir will sing in matinee and evening shows at The Royal & Derngate Theatre, performing a piece by Gareth Fuller, Weekes Baptise, Sharon De Leonardis and Nairobi Thompson. Tickets can be booked though the theatre’s box office.
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush into the UK, offering us the chance to deepen our understanding and celebrate the exceptional contributions of the Windrush generation, and their descendants, across the UK.
“These events recognise the cultural richness and diversity of our community here in West Northamptonshire and provides an opportunity to come together and celebrate the legacy of the Windrush generation and other dual heritage populations who are key to shaping our shared future.”
A commemorative brochure will be available at The Royal and Derngate, the museum and the University of Northampton from the 22nd June.