That the Windrush Generation has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, is all the more more reason to celebrate this vital chapter in the story of our capital's, and country's, diversity. Here are five ways to celebrate 70 years since the Empire Windrush landed in Tilbury near London, ushering in 500-odd settlers from Jamaica and Trinidad.
1. Groove to Caribbean beats
From the moment Lord Kitchener coyly purred the opening of London is the Place for Me, on his way off the Windrush, our city fell in love with the sounds of the Caribbean. More than ever we're grooving to the music of the West Indies — with nights like Bubble (which plays vibesy reggae and grooving soca — next night 2 June) and reggae-steeped venues such Brixton's Hootenanny, and Troy Bar in Hoxton.
Oh yes, apparently, there's also Caribbean music at this thing that happens every year called Carnival.
2. Visit the Black Cultural Archives
The shelves of of Brixton's Black Cultural Archives contain some enlightening books on the Windrush generation, including a few that helped us write this article on the West Indies ships that arrived in the UK before The Windrush. The archives also has copies of the 1948 Nationality Act — which gave all colonial subjects British citizenship — and subsequent Immigration Acts which attempted to remove this right.
3. Summer market Windrush special, at New Beacon Books
Speaking of books, on 16 June New Beacon — the country's first black bookshop — is holding a summer market with a Windrush bent. Buy clothing, accessories, jewellery, arts & crafts, homeware and natural health products inspired by Caribbean culture at the indoor and outdoor market. There are also Windrush performances, stories and an open viewing of archive material from that time period.
4. Scoff your face at one of London's best Jamaican restaurants
From the Calypso Chicken sandwich at Negril to the red snapper and plantain of Rum Kitchen — have a carnival in your mouth, at one of the capital's best Jamaican eateries. Wash down diner at one of London's 10 best rum bars. We'll take a Zombie at Trailer Happiness, thanks.
5. Take a trip to Tilbury
Visit the place where it all began. Not the bustling docks it was in the 1940s, Tilbury still makes a pleasant day trip from London — not least because of the remarkable Tudor fort here, now run by English Heritage.
In London itself, you can tour Clapham South's deep-level shelter (next tours August and September), where many of the Windrush generation spend their first nights in London. Its proximity to the Brixton labour exchange at the time, is also apparently why that area is now oozing Caribbean heritage.
Know of other Windrush-related events this summer? Let people know in the comments.