June 22, 1948: 75th Anniversary of the Windrush

It’s been 75 years since the HMT Empire Windrush, a former troop carrier turned migrant ship, arrived at Tilbury Docks near London on June 21, 1948. More than 800 passengers and several stowaways disembarked the following day, on June 22nd. The journey for many of these migrants began in Jamaica. They were West Indian Commonwealth migrants headed to the United Kingdom searching for jobs and a better life. From 1948-1971, some 500,000 people born in the British Empire, particularly Caribbean countries, arrived in the UK. They became known as the Windrush generation.

Jamaican Immigrants Disembark the Windrush in 1948

In 1948, the British Nationality Act opened the way for migration to the UK for holders of British passports in Commonwealth countries. It was an era of post-war rebuilding and labor shortages. The migrants, many skilled and anxious for work, provided cheap labor. Some of the migrants had served in the British military during the war. Having previously lived in the UK, they were anxious to return. Others were looking for jobs and saw the UK as a land of opportunity. They did not need, nor were they given, any documents upon arrival.

Evening Standard: June 21, 1948

They boarded ships like the Windrush, the first large immigrant transport to bring people from the Caribbean to the UK. The Windrush has been called the Mayflower of post-war Black settlement in Britain. As the Windrush approached the Straits of Dover in 1948, the Evening Standard sent a plane to capture photos of the new arrivals. The paper’s headline read, “Welcome Home!” For many, however, the welcome was short-lived. Even though the workers filled vital jobs, they often encountered prejudice and bias. By the 1960s, suspicion and racism replaced the hospitality they initially experienced.

In 1971, the Immigration Act gave members of the Windrush generation, and other Commonwealth citizens living in the UK, the permanent right to live, work, and stay in the UK. However, they were not issued paperwork to support this status.

In 2018, the Windrush scandal bubbled to the surface when news emerged that hundreds of people from the Windrush generation, and sometimes their descendants, had been wrongfully detained, denied legal rights, and threatened with deportation. The Home Office of the British government did not have copies of the migrants’ paperwork granting citizenship, and their landing cards were destroyed in 2010. Attempts to receive medical care or other services were denied. The missing cards were essential to their claims of citizenship. Newspaper editorials published pleas to the government to stop deporting those who had contributed so much to British society.

Evening Standard: April 11, 2018

Following the public outcry, the British government vowed to compensate members of the Windrush generation impacted by the scandal. Those efforts have been criticized for taking far too long. In 2018, supporters of the Windrush generation proposed to designate an annual day to celebrate the Windrush’s arrival. The proposal was adopted, and the UK celebrated the first annual Windrush Day on June 22, 2019. The fallout over the Windrush scandal continues. In January of this year, those who have campaigned for Windrush victims’ rights criticized the government’s decision to drop crucial reform commitments, and Windrush victims continue to struggle for benefits.

As we mark the 75th Anniversary of the Windrush’s arrival in the UK, you can learn more about this historic event by searching Newspapers.com™ today.

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31 thoughts on “June 22, 1948: 75th Anniversary of the Windrush

  1. wish I could afford newspapers.com. Retired , limited and shrinking income . Maybe Jan 2025?

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of all financially struggling seniors’ comments. I’m in the club as well.

  2. Seniors over 65 should get special rates. So many articles I would love to find but budgets get tighter when retired.

  3. Kudos to all the above comments – I too am a senior with shrinking funds and struggling and feel very left out of new tools like Newspapers.com to help with our lifelong searches. Is anyone listening out there?

  4. I’m another person in my 70s who cannot afford Newspapers on my limited income, plus I recently received terrible medical news. Doctors and hospitals now have their hands out. Where will the money come from?

  5. I am in the same situation as some of the other writers. I am 79 years old and live on a fixed income. My budget is very tight. I would like to sign up for newspapers.com, but hesitate to because of my budget constraints. I would greatly appreciate if there would be some price reduction for senior citizens. Thank you.

  6. I agree, Newspapers are an important part of genealogical research. I do not understand why Ancestry.com does not include access to them as part of the original subscription. Why they have their hand outstretched for additional funds to access these important documents. very frustrating for those of us on limited income.

    1. Hey all – I also have subscriptions to Newspapers.com, as well as Fold3 and Ancestry, and agree, those charges add up. But check out your local public library’s online resources (ask a librarian for help if you’re not sure how to do this) – I just found out that I can get FREE access to a large newspaper archive, as well as Fold3, with my library membership!

  7. Ruth Walker says ….. I agree Newspapers is too expensive.. And even though I have paid I seem to not be able to get into the site. Why so many passwords.! I am 83, but I still subscribe.. Pretty much have found everything. But I still look for more.

  8. Quite convincing reaction here… Ancestry are you listening to these elders who are deeply interested in genealogy? Or will you focus on the next generations who tend not to have family trees posted?

  9. I’m not over the age of 60 like many in the previous comments. However, we all agree on 1 thing. Newspapers is expensive. Is there a way to better include membership of Newspapers with Ancestry membership for everyone, and senior citizens especially?

  10. Sounds like time to convince your local library to subscribe . We don’t want Newspapers.com to limit efforts to buy new acquisitions if they don’t have enough revenue . Access to this kind of thing is the core role of the library .

  11. Somehow for those of us who faithfully subscribed after 25 years you would think a discount would be in order instead of a price hike. A discount for those over 65 would be nice.

  12. Have your marketing folks get w/your budget folks and come up w/a rate for seniors. I believe you’ll find a win-win. Until then, this senior will continue to use the library, both on and offline. 🙂

  13. So disappointed in newspapers . Com. Finally bit the bullet and ordered it and Found that most of the small town papers I was looking for are not included, instead u have to buy the “premium version” feel this was a rip off.

  14. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about Newspapers.com. We love our senior customers and realize the challenges of a fixed income, especially as the cost of living consistently rises. I will share your suggestions for a senior pricing strategy with our leadership team. I know they, too, are battling rising business costs. Might I suggest that you sign up to receive our emails? You’ll be the first to know of special promotions and free access events we offer throughout the year. https://www.newspapers.com/account/communication/

    1. Thank you for your suggestion, Jenny. I did sign up to receive your emails. I hope there is a discount price for seniors offered.

  15. I have been looking for the San Jose Mercury News from California for many years a very prominent paper with many subscribers to include Silicon Valley news and many related communities -a very unfortunate oversight.

    1. Anne, the San Jose Mercury News is on our radar and we hope to add that to our collection in the near future.

  16. I agree with everything being said about the expense of subscribing to Newspapers.com. I am 81 and would love to be able to afford Newspapers. I have had Ancestry since 2006 and love it, but it too is getting expense. Please offer us seniors a discount so that we may subscribe to Newspapers.com.

  17. What point were you trying to make? Unless you are opening the website for ‘free’ in celebration of ’75th Windrush anniversary’ (as done for war veterans) then its just another attempt to coerc folk into paying for an already expensive, difficult to navigate and limited resource tool which already be included in the subscription paid to ‘Ancestry’ etc.

  18. I’ve been paying for Ancestry.com for many years. I also pay separately for Newspapers.com. As a senior citizen, I find paying for both is much too expensive! Unfortunately, I’ll have to give up both when my current subscriptions expire, since my income is fixed, and expenses are rising. It’s too bad Ancestry won’t bundle and discount Ancestry and Newspapers for seniors.

  19. Hey…c’mon! Take a look at the corporation behind Ancestry & Newspapers and tell me why they can’t honor seniors with a very low, or complimentary rate!

  20. I am like the others. Not enough income to pay for the newspapers subscription. On top of that, when I had the free trial, I could not find anything pertaining to the many varied searches that I tried.

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