Visit the Windrush Exhibition Telford & Wrekin
26th November until 14th January
*Booking must be made in advance via the booking form below
The Windrush Generation were invited to fill Britain’s post war labour shortage and help to re-build the Nation. 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….
Not all white Britons welcomed the black Britons. Many West Indians found that the colour of their skins provoked unfriendly reactions. Despite the desperate shortage of labour, some still found it difficult to get good jobs or accommodation due to what has been referred to as a ‘colour bar’. Often they were forced to accept jobs which they were over-qualified for, or they were paid less than other white workers. Government reports compiled in the 1940s and 1950s, like the one in this lesson, evidenced racist attitudes towards these new communities.
West Indians also experienced difficulties in finding suitable places to live. Since few had much money, they had to find cheap housing to rent near to their workplace. This was often in the poor inner cities. Even if they did have enough money to rent better quality housing, many had to face the fact that some landlords refused to rent to black people. They would be confronted with insulting signs in house windows that said ‘Rooms to Let: No dogs, no coloureds’. This meant that a lot of West Indians were forced to rent homes in the most rundown areas.