Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin

Published: November 19, 2021

College to host the Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin

Telford College is hosting an exhibition to honour the ‘Windrush families’ who travelled thousands of miles to help rebuild post-war Britain – and start brand new lives in the area.

The Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin has been created to honour their memories and leave a legacy for future generations.

A special launch event will be held at Telford College from 5pm to 7.30pm on November 25 and will feature testimonials from relatives of the families, photographs, audio and video interviews and music.

The exhibition will then remain at the college’s Haybridge campus until Friday January 14th 2022, and form part of an intergenerational heritage project – described as a ‘journey of discovery’.

The Windrush generation were invited to travel from the Caribbean to fill Britain’s post-war labour shortage and help re-build the nation’s infrastructure from 1948 to 1973.

Many of them had paid £28 – equivalent to around £1,000 in today’s money – to make the journey in response to job adverts in local newspapers.

The name Windrush originates from the HMT Empire Windrush ship which carried one of the larges and earliest groups in 1948, because the Caribbean at the time was part of the British Commonwealth.

Those who arrived here were automatically British subjects and free to permanently live and work in the UK.

Dan Blasczyk, Telford College’s student engagement officer, said: “We want to play our part in helping to preserve the history of the Windrush generation in Telford & Wrekin, and recognise their achievements.”

The Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin was conceived by Diane Drummond, who approached a local community group to ask if anyone had images of the Caribbean families who arrived here in the 1950s.

The idea gathered so much interest that Diane, Emma Brown, and Barbara Thomas decided to turn it into an exhibition. Diane reached out to the Telford College team, who recognise the value in hosting this important piece of history.

Diane said: “The Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin represents a photographic exhibition of a small section of the community – a group of people who worked together to give us a better future and transform the local community through their words and deeds.

“As people, we derive from very richly diverse backgrounds which should be celebrated. Let’s start conversations with our elders and capture it in the various sophisticated forms which are now available to us. We owe it to them.”

Lorraine Laurent, Telford College’s interim director of services for students, added: “This project will give our students a unique opportunity to contribute towards the Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin by exploring origins, values, education, employment and culture, and learning about the heritage of someone close to them.”

Students will be encouraged to participate by interviewing someone they know from a previous generation, to learn about how things may have changed from one generation to another.

The exhibition will also be open to the public by pre-arranged bookings. For more information, visit www.telfordcollege.ac.uk/windrush