Oxford celebrates Windrush Day

Published: Friday, 19th June 2020

This Windrush Day (Monday 22 June), Oxford City Council are highlighting the contribution the Windrush generation have made to Oxford.

Thousands of people from the Caribbean responded to the government’s invitation to live and work in the UK from the 1940s-1970s, to help rebuild the country. Their contribution is still making a difference today. Many came to help build the fledgling NHS, work in essential services like transport, and in Oxford to work in the Cowley plant. As well as rebuilding the economy they helped shape our leisure, influencing things like our music, fashion and food.

The Museum of Oxford has organised an online exhibition and is calling for contributions to its digital archive. If you have a Windrush story you would like to share as part of Oxford’s history you can submit words and images at the museum’s digital collections page and it will become part of the Museum’s collection telling the story of Oxford and its people. The City Council is sharing videos from three children of the Windrush generation on social media. One of the interviewees, Jason Carbon, highlights the names of many Oxford families who came to the UK at the time, and the Museum would be particularly interested in contributions about these families or names that should be added. Names can be added by emailing museum@oxford.gov.uk

Throughout the day there will be online activity including talks, poetry and digital exhibitions. Highlights include:

A digital version of the Caribbean Living Room exhibition

A talk and Q&A with Natty Mark Samuels on the Harlem Renaissance

Find out more about what is on the Oxford Windrush Group Facebook page

Nationally the Black Cultural Archives has organised a series of activities, including storytelling, poetry and a young people’s completion

The National Theatre has free streaming of its production of Small Island, a play that traces the tangled history between Jamaica and the UK from WW2 to the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in Britan in 1948

“Windrush Day is a celebration of the generation who came from the Caribbean to help rebuild the UK after the war, and all they have contributed to this country. Right now the Black Lives Matter demonstrations are reminding us to re-examine how we have treated and continue to treat people from the Black community and other ethnic minorities. We all need to learn more about the experience of Black people in the UK, so that we can build stronger communities where no one is excluded.

“As today’s celebrations show, the Windrush generation helped shape Britain as it is today, from building the NHS to the music we listen to. The Council is supporting some great online activities and resources for people in Oxford to get involved with this celebration of the Windrush generation. I hope everyone will find something to enjoy and something to learn from these activities.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Covered Market and Culture