In June 1948 the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex carrying hundreds of people from the Caribbean. 70 years on, Windrush Stories invites us to consider a longer, more complicated and ongoing relationship between Britain and the Caribbean.

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The arrivants

From the late 1940s to the early 1960s thousands of men, women and children left the Caribbean, by sea and by air, for Britain. They were encouraged by the 1948 British Nationality Act that granted citizenship and right of abode in the UK to all members of the British Empire. Why did people come? What did they leave behind? What did they find when they arrived, and how did they shape Britain?

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Crop of map showing Caribbean region from A General Chart of the West India Islands, 1796

Waves of history

Following Columbus’ ‘discovery’ of the Americas in the late 15th century European imperial powers transformed the Caribbean. Explore the history of the region, the legacies of enslavement and colonialism, and how Caribbean society has been deeply shaped by rebellion, resistance and ideas of freedom.

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Crop of a page from handwritten drafts for Windrush Songs by James Berry

Authors, artists and activists

From Samuel Selvon’s Lonely Londoners to Andrea Levy’s Small Island; from calypso to the birth of Black British music; and the pioneering work of activists, journalists and teachers. Explore how the experiences of migration and settling in the UK, alongside the political landscapes of the Caribbean and Britain, have led to new artistic expressions, cultural movements and waves of activism.

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The Windrush generation scandal

Learn more about the Windrush generation scandal and the experiences of Caribbean-born British citizens who have been affected by the 2014 Immigration Act.

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