Race Council Cymru Windrush Cymru Project – Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History
(Funded by national Lottery Heritage Fund)
Race Council Cymru launches its exciting project entitled: The Windrush Cymru Project – Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History, on Friday 07th June 2019 at Butetown Community Centre (5:30 – 7:30pm). This is a free event – all welcome.
Funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project directly responds to a call from elders of the Windrush Generation who wanted to ensure that the legacy of their generation is captured for posterity. This project is about collecting, recording, documenting, sharing and celebrating the contributions of the Windrush generation who came to the UK post war to the 1980’s.
In June 1948, the SS Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury Dock in Essex. This ship carried around 500 passengers fromCommonwealth countries in the Caribbean, who were responding to Britain’s invitation to help rebuild the ‘Motherland’ after the devastating effects of World War 2. Some of these passengers were ex-service men and womenwho served Britain during the war. Being citizens from countries that were colonised by Britain, these people, saw themselves as British.
The next 40 years would see more Commonwealth people arriving on a variety of ships, responding to this call coming from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladeshand Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Guyana.
While recent media coverage has raised awareness of the Windrush Generation, little is known of those who contributed to Welsh society.
This project engages where they came from, their stories of migration and their experiences of forging a new life in Wales.
Roma Taylor, Chair Windrush Elders Cymru, came to the UK when she was 15 years old from Antigua. She reflects that on arrival, these Commonwealth citizens:
“were ill-equipped to spend an unknown amount of time on the station platform in a strange, cold country. It must have been both heart-breaking and admirable, as many went on to settle, making the UK their home, despite the irreverent introduction.”
The heritage information collected as part of this Windrush Cymru project will leave a long and enduring legacy. Aspects of this heritage will be shared on Race Council Cymru’s website and on People’s Collection Wales. Outputs will include a touring exhibition, publication and teaching materials.
The National Museum Wales, St Fagans will be the repository of this heritage adding the stories, voices and history of the Windrush Generation to the wider narrative of Welsh life.
Sioned Hughes, Keeper of History and Archaeology at National Museum Wales said:
“We support the project’s aims to record and archive these personal histories before they are lost, and the cultural right of the Windrush Generation to freely express their stories and be part of the national history of Wales and the wider UK.“
Reaffirming the value of projects like these, Vernesta Cyril OBE, Patron of Black History and Windrush Elder states:
“This is important. It looks at almost forgotten people and the horrors they endured. This will put us on the map. Looking back, our stories are very important. These archives are for our children and their children to go and look and see how we made a way for them and other people.”
Are you a Windrush elder or a relative of someone who arrived during the Windrush era?
Please get in touch with: [email protected]
Presented by Race Council Cymru.
This project is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by Windrush Cymru Elders, Black History Wales Patrons, National Museum Wales, Wales Millennium Centre and People’s Collection Wales
Project Launch date and location: Friday 07th June 2019 at Butetown Community Centre (5:30 – 7:30pm)