The events mentioned below were funded as part of Moments To Connect – a funding round designed to find out how the national events and moments of 2023 can connect individuals and communities and build common ground across social divides. To find out more about the aims for the Spirit of Windrush project and the importance of anniversaries like Windrush 75 in bringing people together, head to the project page.

At Royal Museums Greenwich in South London, we’re gearing up for Windrush Day on 22nd June and the two big events we have planned to celebrate the 75th anniversary of some of the pioneers of the Caribbean who came on other ships other than the Empire Windrush where the passengers disembarked on the 22 June 1948. This was beginning of what is now known as the Windrush generation.

This year is significant to the museum and the Caribbean community as collectively we celebrate the anniversary. This is furthermore embraced due to our longstanding relationship with our partners the Caribbean Social Forum through working on a co-created project and events including sharing stories in the spirit of the Windrush and beyond.

The National Maritime Museum holds the UK’s largest maritime collection which tell (some of) the story of Britain’s relationship with the sea, and images of the Empire Windrush and the ships that came before and after having been in our extensive maritime collection for some time. However, they lack representation of a vital ingredient – the people who made the voyage from the Caribbean to the UK. The Caribbean Social Forum members, their ancestors and their families include these people, and they have been working with us to bring people back into the picture.


The Caribbean Social Forum has now reached 600+ registrations with a weekly group meeting every Thursday of which 100+ attends in South London. The Forum acts as a catalyst for building friendships, faith sharing, health and welling being, education and social activities whilst embracing Caribbean culture and learning about other communities. They also offer bereavement coaching, weekly exercise classes online, dementia support as part of their health and wellbeing.

The Museum have been working in partnership with the Caribbean Social Forum for the last seven years and this has opened opportunities in developing new and exciting models of working with community groups. The Caribbean Social Forum contributes to the Museum’s event programme with their famous intergenerational and cultural ‘Games Without Wires’, and their educational black history “Walking Images” that lead them to a complete successful takeover event now in its second year at the Museum.

This year for Windrush we’ve come together to go beyond our usual Windrush celebration day on 22nd June to create a new free primary school’s workshop featuring an in-conversation moment with Caribbean Social Forum elders, and a new weekend festival event on 24th June. Our wider project also includes gathering new oral histories and working with young people.

When we first started talking about this year’s plans, the Forum felt it was important to look beyond Windrush, to consider and investigate people’s journeys via other ships that are often the forgotten part of this generation. We commissioned some new research into ships travelling from the Caribbean to the UK between 1942 – 1962, to support one new aspect the Forum wanted to include in the events to connect or reconnect people that shared the same journeys to the UK but never met whilst travelling. We’re really excited about celebrating the anniversary in this way, to bring people together not just through a thought-provoking and vibrant programme of activities, but through a practical way to connect.

The events also have a new focus on family history to support this, with the library team working with family history specialists and providing practical, hands-on support on the event days for people to use the archives at the Museum to find their own connection to Windrush and other ships that made the journey.

For me personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing people in conversation, making connections, celebrating and learning about each other’s culture and finding a shared understanding. Already we’ve seen this happen between elders from the Forum and primary school children in the school workshops – chatting through their own personal experiences of different objects and positive and negative experiences of race and racism.

Highlights of the event days include a multi-school choir of 120 primary school pupils performing songs connected to the Caribbean and Windrush, a dominoes tournament, a spoken word and music jam, yoga, singing, art and dance workshops, and the all- important performance from the Caribbean Social Forum Amateur Choir.

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