windrush - Mona Baptise Blues Singer June 1948.jpg

Arrival: Celebrating Windrush and the Communities who followed

City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London, SE1 2AA, United Kingdom
Free but booking is ESSENTIAL

On Saturday 30 June, you can discover the story of ‘arrival in London’ at City Hall.

People have been coming to London from the Caribbean for hundreds of years. The arrival of HMT Empire Windrush seventy years ago, on 22 June 1948, was a huge moment in this history. It has helped to shape our open and diverse identity in ever since.

Come and hear the stories of the Windrush generation and share your own stories of arriving in London. There’ll be talks, music, workshops, film screenings and installations.

This is a time to celebrate and a moment to remember. Our storytelling work with the community will carry on after this event with more conversations and radio broadcasts.

Join Talk London to share your stories of arrival ahead of the event, or get involved if you can’t make it

Conversations in the Chamber (booking required)

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The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, will open the event, followed by keynote speaker, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE. She was born in Trinidad in 1949 and came to England aged ten in 1960. Her Windrush Garden features at this year’s Royal Chelsea Flower Show.

Chaired by broadcaster Brenda Emmanus, the following four conversations will start with brief performances from Talawa Theatre exploring Sam Selvin’s ‘Lonely Londoners.’ They will close with perspectives from the Latin American, Syrian and European communities. Speakers include Afua Hirsch, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Jennette Arnold AM, and Windrush stories from Allan Wilmot and Peter Dielhenn.

1. Making the journey – personal testimony on reality for a London migrant

2. Telling our stories – how we encourage discussion and preserve our stories for the future

3. Windrush women – how they helped to create strong workforces

4. Moving forward – what next for Caribbean Londoners

Penguin Live in London’s Living Room (booking required)

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The top floor of City Hall will be taken over by Penguin Live. The day will start with storytelling workshops from Nadia Shireen and Spread the Word. Later, there will be talks from Nikesh Shukla, Colin Grant, and Bernadine Evaristo. Legendary dub poet and performer Linton Kwesi Johnson will bring this event to a close, followed by book signing.

Penguin Live are working in partnership with the George Padmore Institute, who will be displaying archive materials and research relating to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain. New Beacon Books, who specialise in Afro-Caribbean writing, will be operating a bookshop on the day.

Film and Presentations in Room 5 (booking required)

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Special 1000 Londoners Windrush Screening

A series of short video portraits of Black women in London, encompassing the famous, the hidden, the influential and the unheard. Chosen from Chocolate Films' award-winning project 1000 Londoners, described by Time Out as 'an amazing online archive of docs on real lives in our city'. 

Being Blacker

After a ten-year absence, acclaimed filmmaker Molly Dineen is back with a new feature documentary, Being Blacker: an intimate, 90-minute portrait of Jamaican-born reggae producer, businessman, father, son, and community pillar, Blacker Dread. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Blacker Dread.

Windrush Foundation

Presentation including contributions from a Windrush passenger, World War 2 RAF serviceman and a member of the SS Empire Windrush crew (Allan Wilmot, Peter Dielhenn).

All day activities (booking required)

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gal-dem - Room 1, Ramp, Café 

This exhibition of portrait illustrations shines a light on pioneering Caribbean women in the world of politics and activism. gal-dem’s Caribbean Kitchen explores themes of food, heritage, culture and migration, through the lens of 1960s and 70s family memories. The installation pays homage to Michael McMillan’s famous installation, West Indian Front Room. 'Untitled (Eat Good) Food Series’ in the café offers a showcase of Caribbean meals from photographer, Rochelle White.

A Mile in My Shoes – The Map 

Visitors are invited to go on a physical and empathetic journey by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally – while listening to their story. This collection of new audio stories is from refugees and migrants who have made London their home. From a Nigerian barber who arrived eight years ago, to a Jamaican war veteran and calypso star who came to London in 1933.

Paper Boat Making – The Map 

Join a guided boat-making workshop to commemorate the Windrush journeys of 70 years ago and the journeys of everyone else who has arrived here by boat. Make a boat, share a story of migration and add to the flotilla during the day with this Migration Museum Project.

Hackney Museum, George Padmore Institute – Room 2 

Hackney has been shaped from people around the world. The museum brings Windrush suitcases and actors to tell their tales. Hear why Caribbeans were invited to Britain after World War 2 and discover the true stories behind the headlines. They are joined by the George Padmore Institute, a 20th century archive of more than 40 years of UK black activism.

Conversation Booth with Michael McMillan – Room 3

Tell your story of arriving in London at the conversation booth. This mobile recording facility will capture the voices of participants and archive them. Michael McMillan will encourage people to share their stories, using his West Indian Front Room as a reference point.

Music Stage – the Scoop 

Outside City Hall on The Scoop, as part of London Bridge City’s ‘Summer by the River’ programme, there will be a music stage opening at 1pm. It will feature Caroll Thompson, Kioko and the original “English Girl” Sister Audrey, and Mad Professor. Young fresh talent such as Lisa Mercedez, Alacai Harley and Doktor, together with DJ / Hosts, Daddy Ernie and Enziga Soundz, will paint a living breathing monument to the Caribbean influence on British music. Black Slate, one of the first British Reggae bands to surface in the 1970s will headline at 8.30pm.

Find out more

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