Wind rush 1948

Inspired by the Pathe new footage of the embarking immigrants from Jamaica who sailed to Tilbury in Essex on the Emperor Windrush in 1948. The cost of the trip was 48 shillings. HMT Empire Windrush, originally MV Monte Rosa, was a passenger liner and cruise ship launched in Germany in 1930. She was operated as a German cruise ship under the name Monte Rosa in the 1930s, and as a German navy troopship during World War II. At the end of the war, she was acquired by the United Kingdom Government as a prize of war and renamed the Empire Windrush.n 1948, Empire Windrush, which was en route from Australia to England via the Atlantic, docked in Kingston, Jamaica, to pick up servicemen who were on leave. The British Nationality Act 1948, giving the status of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC status) to all British subjects connected with the United Kingdom or a British colony, was going through parliament, and some Caribbean migrants decided to embark “ahead of the game”. Prior to 1962, the UK had no immigration control for CUKCs, who could settle indefinitely in the UK without restrictions. The ship was far from full, and so an opportunistic advertisement was placed in a Jamaican newspaper offering cheap transport on the ship for anybody who wanted to come and work in the UK. Many former servicemen took this opportunity to return to Britain with the hopes of finding better employment including in some cases rejoining the RAF; others decided to make the journey just to see what the ‘mother country’ was like. One passenger later recalled that demand for tickets far exceeded the supply and there was a long queue to obtain one.

The ship docked at the Port of Tilbury, near London, on 21 June 1948, and the 1,027 passengers began disembarking the next day. A commonly given figure for the number of West Indian immigrants on board is 492,based understandably on news reports in the media at the time, which variously announced that “more than 400”, “430” or “500” Jamaican men had arrived in Britain.However, the ship’s records, kept in the United Kingdom National Archives, indicate conclusively that 802 passengers gave their last place of residence as a country in the Caribbean.


MediumOil on found garden fenceSize60cm x 68cmYearCirca: 2016 See in shopCollection of the artist, SAD

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