To celebrate the huge contribution the Windrush generation and their descendants have made to London’s transport and culture, London Transport Museum will host a lively online panel discussion on the evening of Tuesday 22 June, Windrush Day 2021. The free online event will take place from 6.30pm to 7.45pm on Zoom.
On 22 June 1948, just over 800 passengers from the Caribbean disembarked from the HMT Empire Windrush ship at Tilbury docks near London, many intending to live and work in the UK. In the summer of 1948, 236 of the newly arrived people from the Caribbean stayed in temporary accommodation below Clapham South Tube station, in a deep-level shelter built during the Second World War, while they looked for housing and work in the Capital.
Many of the Windrush generation took work in transport. In 1956, London Transport also began a direct recruitment campaign in the Caribbean, initially in Barbados but later expanding to other Caribbean countries, that ran until 1970. As London became more culturally diverse, so too did London Transport. In the workforce of today’s TfL, over 30% identify as being Black or from an ethnic minority.
The speakers taking part in the Windrush Day virtual event will reflect on the diverse heritage of London transport’s employees and look at how post-war direct Caribbean recruitment has shaped London. The panel will explain how the Museum, with TfL, is archiving, documenting and interpreting the varied experiences and memories of Caribbean transport staff and their communities.
The audience and panel will look to the future to see what TfL is doing to maintain and improve a positive, safe and welcoming environment for its diverse community and how it is setting an example for a global city of the future.
Ed Adoo, from BBC Three Counties Radio, writer and DJ will host the evening online event and welcome the following speakers: Matt Brosnan, Head Curator at London Transport Museum, Youcef Hassaine, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TfL and Sherelle Cadogan from the TfL RACE SNG (Raising Awareness of Culture and Ethnicity Staff Network Group) who represent Black, Asian and Ethnic minority staff within the organisation.
Seven poems and prose written by TfL employees for Windrush Day 2020 will be displayed as animated digital installations in the Museum galleries from 19 June for visitors to enjoy. These powerful verses were originally produced in 2020 for an online TfL staff intranet exhibition by one of TfL’s key staff network groups, RACE SNG. In 2021 the Museum brought the poems into its collection and animated the verses for the public to see in the Museum.
The 2021 Windrush Day Grant of £21,242 awarded to London Transport Museum on 25 May 2021 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, will kick-start a series of cultural and learning activities, with a new exhibition exploring the history of Caribbean migration in relation to London Transport and the legacy of the organisation’s direct recruitment from the Caribbean, opening in 2022.
Through memories and stories, the exhibition will show the deep and enriching link between the British Caribbean community, London Transport, and the city as a whole. Families will be able to take part in storytelling activities and a fun and educational trail inspired by the exhibition in February half term 2022.
The exhibition’s development is being supported by an advisory board of people from Black communities with personal experience of and connections to this history, including members of TfL’s Raising Awareness of Culture and Ethnicity (RACE) Staff Network Group.