The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument at the Waterloo Station in London. The Monument’s location, London Waterloo station, was chosen due to its significance in the Windrush story as thousands of people who arrived from the Caribbean passed through the station on their way to start their new lives across the country after the Second World War.
The engagement came ahead of next year’s 75-year anniversary since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948, bringing 500 passengers from the Caribbean.
Ahead of the unveiling, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also visited ELEVATE in Lambeth where they met with younger generations of the British-Caribbean community – which aims to open up the creative and cultural sector. The couple took part in a film and photography workshop. ELEVATE works with a network of schools and colleges, training organizations, and employers to help young people build skills and access opportunities to help them build successful careers within the creative industries.
The Duchess of Cambridge, an excellent photographer herself, went behind the camera where she had a video tutorial by a member of the group.
Designed by renowned Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson and delivered with £1 million funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, the Monument symbolizes the courage, commitment, and resilience of the thousands of men, women, and children who traveled to the UK to start new lives from 1948 to 1971.
From Art. UK,
“The Windrush migration story is the Watson family story. It is also the story of many people like them. The Watson family lived in the UK for about a decade in the 1950s and 1960s – they traveled from the Caribbean with similar suitcases to those depicted in the sculpture. This sculpture – a cast in bronze – is both personal and global for the creator Basil Watson.”
The monument features a statue of a man, woman, and child in their ‘Sunday best’ standing on top of suitcases 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. The monument was described by the Government as, a “permanent place of reflection and inspiration and be a visible statement of our shared history and heritage”. Two other permanent sculptures by artist Thomas J Price were also unveiled outside Hackney Town Hall in honor of the Windrush generation. The sculptures are part of the council’s Hackney Windrush Artwork Commission.
The Royal couple was joined by members of the Windrush generation. The Windrush generation is described as, “people who emigrated from the Caribbean to Britain between the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948 and the Immigration Act 1971.”
The Queen sent a written message to mark the opening of the historical monument in which she said,” It is my hope that the memorial will serve to inspire present and future generations”. Prince William addressed the gathering and said,
“Today is the day we celebrate and honor the Windrush generation and the enormous contribution each and every one of them has made and continues to make, to our society. I am delighted that so many of that generation and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are here today.
When the Windrush generation sailed from the Caribbean to rebuild war-torn Britain, they did so as British citizens, answering a plea to help our country thrive again. Many of them were not strangers to these shores. In the decade before 1948, thousands served in the RAF, either flying, navigating, or as ground crew keeping our squadrons air-borne including Allan Wilmot, the eldest Windrus pioneer whose family is with us today.
These people did not have to come. they volunteered to fight for King and Country- in the full knowledge that many would never make it home again. As one of the inheritors of that great military tradition, I understand how much we owe to these men and women. Today’s ceremony would not be complete without remembering their sacrifice.
Over the past 7 decades, the Windrush generation’s role in the fabric of our national life has been immense. Today, as we look around us, we can see just how many of the institutions in our country are built by that generation; commerce and manufacturing, sports and science, engineering and fashion.
Here in waterloo station, we are reminded of the role played by thousands of people from the Windrush generation in our essential public transport system – from train drivers to conductors and technical staff.
My family has been proud to celebrate this for decades – Whether that be through support from My Father on Windrush day, or more recently during my Grandmother’s platinum jubilee, as people from all communities and backgrounds came together to acknowledge all that has changed over the past 70 years and look to the future.
This is something that resonated with Catherine and me, after our visit to the Caribbean earlier this year. Our trip was an opportunity to reflect, and we learned so much. Not just about the different issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also how the past weighs heavily on the present.
Sadly, that is also the case for members of the Windrush generation who were the victims of racism when they arrived here, and discrimination remains an all too familiar experience for black men and women in Britain in 2022. Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that Generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush Scandal. That rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the UK as well as many in the Caribbean nations.
Therefore, alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, our communities, and our society as a whole – something the Windrush Generation has contributed so much to – it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass.
Diversity is what makes us strong, and it is what reflects the modern, outward-looking values that are so important to our country. Today, as we stand together to witness Windrush pioneers, Alford and John unveil Basil’s landmark monument, we are reminded of our shared history and the enormous contribution to the Windrush generation”.
A new element of the look is her dangling Chalk Jewelry Florance Earrings. Thanks to DataDuchess2 on Twitter for the id.
She is carrying her Mulberry Small Amberley Crossbody White Small Classic Grain
Yesterday, The Duke of Cambridge celebrated his 40th birthday. The Duke marked the milestone birthday in a unique way by supporting the Big Issue.
Tomorrow the Royal couple will join The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the Cambridgeshire County day.
PS: The post is in progress and will be updated soon!