It’s very difficult to describe what the WINDRUSH EXHIBITION is. This powerful collection of stories and memories of the Windrush generation in Wales is about pain and suffering, but also, celebration and understanding.
The exhibition is on right now at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, and with FREE ENTRY, we would urge as many of you as possible to go along and see it.
In 1948, the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex carrying over 1,000 passengers from the Caribbean Islands. They bravely left their friends and families back home in response to Britain’s call for post-war workers. Over the next 40 years, thousands followed in their footsteps, with many making Wales their new home.
On April 15, 1948, Jamaicans bought tickets for the HMT (Her Majesty’s Transport) Empire Windrush. At the time, Jamaica’s economy was struggling and suffering from the effects of a hurricane a few years earlier.
A small advert was placed in a newspaper announcing a ‘passenger opportunity’ to sail from Jamaica to the UK on the HMT Empire Windrush. The price of a ticket (on what was called the Troop Deck) was £28, that’s around £1000 today.
Around 500 Jamaicans bought tickets. Some wanted to live and work in Britain, with hopes of a better life.
Some had served in the British armed forces during the war and wanted to re-join. While others made the journey out of curiosity and wanted to see what lay ahead here.
The history of the Windrush generation in Wales was recently the focus of an oral history project delivered by Race Council Cymru and funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund. During the course of the project, Windrush Generation Cymru from across the country shared their stories of migration and their memories of forging a new life in Wales.
This powerful exhibition features the stories of over 40 of those Windrush Generation Cymru, told in their own words. Learn about their journeys to Wales, and the challenges they faced in building a new life in a country far from their homelands – finding work and the attitudes of people towards them.
The stories show how the Windrush Generation Cymru, and their descendants, have made their mark in all walks of Welsh life: through the jobs they worked, careers they built, the children they raised, and the contributions they made to our communities and culture
The WINDRUSH EXHIBITION is at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, running through to 31st August. For more details go HERE.
You can also look back at our feature on the unveiling of the Betty Campbell statue HERE.