Windrush: Our History


15 June 2023

The Windrush generation made a significant contribution to Britain’s socio-economic, political, cultural and church landscape.

“The 75th Windrush anniversary is a special moment to commemorate the journey, achievement and legacy of a bold and courageous generation,” says CTE’s Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations, Shermara Fletcher.

“As a third-generation grandchild of the Windrush generation, we feel the responsibility to ensure their legacy not only continues but evolves for the generations to come.” 

Thursday 22 June 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the docking of MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in 1948.  The ship brought hundreds of West Indian men, women and children, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, in response to the invitation to support post-WWII Britain.

Since arriving in the UK, between 1948 and 1971, the Windrush generation has made an immeasurable contribution to Britain’s socio-economic, political, and cultural landscape. The Windrush arrival symbolises the advent of modern, diverse Britain.

CTE General Secretary, Bishop Mike Royal, says: “Windrush 75 is a moment for the whole nation to celebrate the enormous contribution of first-generation African Caribbean people to civic life in Great Britain since 1948. They not only helped rebuild post-war Britain, but established communities who have gone on to achieve in civic society, industry, sport, the arts, media and religious sectors. To see a new generation of black entrepreneurs rising is testament to the foundations laid by their forebears. We stand on the shoulders of giants!”

The Windrush 75th anniversary will be marked at a national service in London and at events across the country, many of them organised by our Member Churches.

“…it is British history, the story of how our society came to look as it does today and why we all have a stake in it,” said Patrick Vernon, Convenor of the Windrush 75 Network.

It is also an important part of British church history over the past 75 years.

“It is foundational to the growth and development of contemporary African and Asian Christian stories and is the fulcrum to understanding much of modern Christianity in Britain today”, wrote Mark Sturge in his article in a special edition of Premier Christianity magazine.

Reflecting on the 70th anniversary, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, then a member of CTE staff wrote “Out of a background of opportunities denied, futures blighted, hopes dashed and faith challenged has emerged a major cause for rejoicing: the emergence of the Black Church Movement in Britain, a movement that permeates the entire Christian community and beyond. At its core is the Black (mostly Pentecostal) Church.”

In the report Why the Windrush matters today Patrick Vernon wrote: “While Windrush 75 is about celebration, it is also about recognition of the survival, the tenacity and the vibrant energy that the Windrush Generation brought with them.

“We can use the 75th anniversary year as an opportunity to re-commit to addressing the ongoing battles of racism, and to create a future that we should all be proud of.”

Photo credit: Windrush monument at Waterloo Station. Licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

More on the national Windrush75 Thanksgiving service and how to watch online.

Find out what our churches are doing to mark Windrush75 across the country.

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