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HMT Empire Windrush

Ealing celebrates Windrush 75

On 22 June, the borough joins the rest of the UK in celebrating the 75th Anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving on our shores. The day provides everyone with an opportunity to recognise the contribution that people of Caribbean descent – from the first pioneers to their descendants – have made to British economic, social and cultural life.

‘Ealing gives thanks to a generation of people who left their homes in the Caribbean’

Councillor Callum Anderson, Ealing’s Cabinet Aide for Windrush 75, said: “This important anniversary allows Ealing to give thanks to the generation of people who left their homes in the Caribbean to answer the call to help re-build a Britain devastated by war. They and their families have contributed so much to what is good about Britain. They played a crucial role supporting the establishment of our NHS and the restoration of our national industries and infrastructure. I am delighted that we are recognising these contributions as a borough together.

“75 years on, Ealing is fortunate that members of this generation, and their descendants, created organisations such as the United Anglo-Caribbean Society which has been in the borough for over 50 years and Descendants which continue to contribute so much to enrich our borough.”

Ealing’s celebrations take place at Soanes Kitchen

Central to our celebrations will be the sold-out event taking place at Soanes Kitchen, Pitzhanger Manor in Walpole Park on Thursday 22 June, between 6pm-9pm.

Panel discussion and talks

Margaret Noel, founder of Descendants, entrepreneur, educator and community champion, and Cathy Simeon, Chair of the United Anglo Caribbean Society (UACS) among others will take part in an open and interactive panel discussion on the achievements and milestones in fighting inequalities in the borough.

Borough archivist Dr Jonathan Oates will celebrate Black Pioneers in Ealing, such as James Barzey, an early race-relations pioneer and chairman of the Ealing Community Relations council in the 1970s, and Eric Morrison, founder of the Anglo-Caribbean Society in 1971, who fought for more black and Caribbean people to run schools and gain positions as magistrates ‘to promote good relations among all people, regardless of race, religion or creed.’ Erick and Jessica Huntley pioneers in black history books and culture, an Olympian and the first Radio One DJ.

Music

The evening will be accompanied by the Urban Fox Orchestra steel band, The inspiring Bishop Crossfield will lead the dulcet and compelling Freedom Worship Centre Choir.

Poetry

There will also be a poetry recital section exploring themes of Windrush, with a selection of poetry performances, including lockdown poet Adenike Tilleray, spoken word advocate Jackie Sear, and Vean Ima will perform her work exploring womanhood and black identity – the vision of a second-generation British-Caribbean woman.

Display of colonial dress

R Consultancy join the celebrations with a display of traditional mas costumes made by Bambola Creations, including the Bele skirts and Shortknee costume, depicting the adoption of the colonial dress, the team will discuss the themes behind the costumes, “colours and intricate stencil patterns depict the vibrancy and determination of Caribbean culture.”

Guests will be treated to the taste of the Caribbean by Jerk Pit chef Auntie Bonnie.

Look out for:

The Windrush Flag which will be flown at Ealing, Greenford, and Southall Town Halls on 22 June.

Talks and writing workshop: Ealing is proud to be supporting The Windrush Foundation and Krik Krak who will host an educational workshop at Questors Theatre, 23 July, 2-5pm around the life of Sam King, with talks and a writing workshop.

Sounds of Windrush: This will be followed by a play in the evening at 7pm, Sounds of Windrush will explore the theme of national identity, resistance, and resilience.
Keep an eye on Krik Krak’s facebook page and Eventbrite for tickets.

HMT Empire Windrush Craft making dates:

The borough’s libraries are also hosting some Windrush craft activities, where children can attend to celebrate the 75th anniversary. For ages 5- 10.
No need to register in advance.

Acton Library: Saturday 24 June from 11am – midday and 2- 3 pm
Northolt Leisure Library: Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 June at 4pm
Ealing Central Library: Saturday 24 June at 2pm
Southall Library: Saturday 24 June at 2pm

Wappy Presents: Sunday 18 June

Join a Windrush themed online zoom session, around how children passed their time on the voyage from the Caribbean to Tilbury Docks. Participants can share poetry, short stories and artwork, and listen to the narrative of elders attending from the Windrush generation.

4 -5pm, 4-11s:  HMT Empire Windrush – create cardboard/paper cut-out of Windrush boats.

5 – 6pm, 12-18: WAPPY Pioneers and Elders are welcome to join for a Windrush/Black History and West London quiz, storytelling of Floella Benjamin’s Coming to England, and a chance for Windrush generation members to share childhood ring, rhyming and clapping games.

Please get in touch for Zoom joining details via wappy@live.com if you’re new to WAPPY.  Otherwise, the link will be circulated via email, What’s App, and FB Messenger to WAPPY members & supporters. Also, visit the WAPPY blog.

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