Windrush: 75 years on

On the 75th anniversary of the SS Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks, Chair of the East Midlands Regional Black Members Network Gilly Anglin-Jarrett shares her thoughts.

On June 22, 1948, the SS Windrush docked in England on its journey from the Caribbean and Mexico with over 1,000 passengers from different nations, including over 800 from Jamaica and 66 Polish World War II refugees.

Before arriving in Kingston, the ship had visited Trinidad, and, following departure from Jamaica, it also docked at Tampico in Mexico, Havana in Cuba, and Bermuda, where others joined the vessel. However, most of the Windrush’s passengers boarded in Jamaica.

Jamaica was the most popular country of origin (539 people), followed by Bermuda (139), England (119), Trinidad (73), British Guiana (44), and other Caribbean and non-Caribbean countries.

Today, in 2023, during UNISON’s Year of the Black Workers focus, we also elected our first Black Male to the National Executive Council, James Minto, and he’s also our first Black deputy regional convenor too. We also have the first Black vice chair of the Regional Labour Link Committee, Audrey Dinnall, and the chair of the Regional Local Government Committee is a Black Male Muslim named Najeeb Nazir.

Politically, in our region, we have at least 3 Black female councillors at Nottingham City Council, and 2 of them are UNISON Black Members, and the other started out as a Black Member before becoming a member of staff in the region.

In the East Midlands, we have Black Members who have some relatives who came here in 1948 and worked in different work sectors.

I want to thank all of them for their valuable contributions to our communities across the East Midlands and acknowledge the courage they showed in the face of racism and injustice when they came here to work and live.