Windrush Day 2020

18 Jun 2020

Explore films, podcasts and long reads from around the web exploring the legacy of the Windrush Generation.

In 1948 the HMT Empire Windrush arrived on British shores, bringing citizens from British colonies in the Caribbean to the United Kingdom to help rebuild the country following the Second World War. In 2018, the 22 June was officially named Windrush Day to mark the 50th anniversary of the ship's landing.

For Windrush Day 2020, we've collated a collection of online culture that explores the legacy of the Windrush generation, the contribution of its people to British culture and the conflicted status that members of the generation still face today, evidenced in the Windrush Scandalof 2018.

National Theatre - Small Island

Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. The play follows three intricately connected stories: Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history between Jamaica and the UK.

Filmed live during its sold-out run in 2019, the National Theatre’s epic production of Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel is streaming with National Theatre at Home to mark Windrush Day 2020.

Small Island - National Theatre

Sounds of the 'rush

The Black Cultural Archives have published excerpts from their Windrush oral history collections. These newly digitsed records provide a window into the rich and varied individual experiences of life in Britain for ‘the Windrush generation’ in the UK.

Listen online.

A scan of a passport of a Jamaican from the Windrush generation
Black Cultural Archives - Sounds of the ‘rush


Watch director Franco Rosso's long-lost reggae classic. Origianally suppressed following its premiere at Cannes film festival for fear that it would stoke racial tension, this incendiary portrait of sound-system culture in 1980s South London follows a young dancehall DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British reggae group Aswad) as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front.

Streaming now on via the Criterion Collection.

A still from the film Babylon showing two Black men walking through a covered market in South London
Babylon Film Still

The Women of the Windrush Generation

Writer Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff, editor of the book Mother Country: Real Stories of thr Windrush Children, tells the often unheard story of the women of the Windrush Generation, many of who were invited by the UK Government to work as nurses for the NHS.

Read now on gal-dem.

A suitcase containing shoes, clothing accessories and a framed portrait, belonging to a Windrush generation migrant
Stories in a Suitcase, National Caribbean Heritage Museum

Sitting in Limbo

This feature length BBC drama based on a true story dramatises the shocking events of the Windrush Scandal. After 50 years in the UK, Anthony Bryan is wrongfully detained by the Home Office and threatened with deportation.

Watch now on BBC iPlayer.

BBC Sitting in Limbo Official Trailer

The Politics of Sound System Culture

Sound systems formed essential pillars of community and identity for the Windrush Generation. In this podcase, recorded on the occasion of his SYSTEM installation in 2018, Somerset House Studios resident and musician Gaika talks to Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar about the politics of sound system culture, Windrush and the history and future of Notting Hill Carnival.