Windrush Day 2024: Things To Do In London

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Last Updated 24 June 2024

Windrush Day 2024: Things To Do In London
Windrush Day events 2024: Audrey Scott sings her hit ‘Goodbye my Love’ at the launch of the exhibition, Lovers Rock, a genre of reggae introduced by the second generation, in the Windrush Generation Legacy Association in the Whitgift Centre in Croydon.
Plenty going on for Windrush Day 2024. Image: Jim Grover

Windrush Day — 22 June — marks the anniversary of the SS Empire Windrush docking in Tilbury in 1948, bringing Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the United Kingdom.

Many of those passengers stayed in the UK, settling either in London or further afield, finding jobs, raising families and becoming part of their local communities.

More recently, the Windrush Scandal has dominated headlines, with people who arrived on the Windrush and via other means being wrongly detained or deported, despite having the necessary rights to live in the UK. It was the Windrush Scandal which intensified the campaign for Windrush Day to be recognised, and the first official Windrush Day was held in 2018, to recognise the contributions made by migrants to UK society, as well as celebrating their heritage.

Here's where to celebrate Windrush Day 2024.

Windrush dance workshops, Canning Town Library (15 June)

Step & Praise Performing Arts host two Windrush dance workshops on Saturday 15 June (one for young adults, one for older adults), in which you'll learn traditional Caribbean dance steps, and create Windrush-inspired pieces. It's free but you'll need to book.

Emerge: A Windrush Dance Workshop, Canning Town Library, 12pm-1pm (young adults), 2pm-3pm (older adults), free

Windrush Secret, Jacksons Lane, Highgate (20 June)

Three serious looking men in black and white
Image: Julian Broad

A white far-right party leader. A black Caribbean diplomat. A white Oxford-educated Home Office government official. And so the scene is set for Rodrequez King-Dorset's Windrush Secret — a play based around the Windrush Generation and the scandal that followed.

Windrush Secret, Jacksons Lane, 20 June, 7.30pm, £18

Windrush Block Party, Bernie Grants Arts Centre (22 June)

Windrush Day 2024 events: A choir singing in green t shirts
Image: Bernie Grant Arts Centre

Tottenham's Bernie Grants Arts Centre marks Windrush Day with a block party — an afternoon/evening packed with DJs, Caribbean and African food — and lots more TBC. Tickets are available from £5, under the Pay What You Can scheme.

Windrush Block Party, Bernie Grants Arts Centre, 22 June, 1pm-7.30pm from £5

Waltham Forest Windrush Festival, Waltham Forest Town Hall (22 June)

Show up in Fellowship Square outside Waltham Forest Town Hall on Windrush Day for seven whole hours of Windrush celebrations — including dancing, talent shows, mask making, film screenings, steel bands, crafts, games, exhibitions, food vendors, rum cocktails — you name it.

Waltham Forest Windrush Festival, Waltham Forest Town Hall, 22 June, 11am-6pm, free

Windrush Day at East Ham Town Hall (22 June)

East Ham Town Halls kicks off Windrush Day with a specially-themed fair, featuring art workshops, family storytelling sessions from Discovery Story Centre and Paula David, and live music from Pan Vibrations. There are also Caribbean choons spun by DJ Suzy Wong and eats from GT Spice Caribbean Takeaway and Jackie's Love Kitchen. That's al followed in the evening by Island Rhythms: A Windrush Showcase with Carroll Thompson.

Windrush Day Fair, 22 June, 2pm-5pm, free; Island Rhythms: A Windrush Showcase with Carroll Thompson, 22 June, 5pm-7pm, free-£5

Windrush Day 2024, National Maritime Museum (22 June)

Windrush Day events 2024. People clapping and singing
Image: National Maritime Museum

As ever, Greenwich's National Maritime Museum pulls out all the stops for Windrush Day — with an action packed day of events at the museum, and in the grounds outside the Queen's House and National Maritime Museum, on 22 June. Events include Caribbean-style domino matches, talks on archiving Black women's experiences, and a chance to explore objects relating to the Windrush era of travel from the Caribbean to the UK — led by the museum's curatorial team.

National Maritime Museum Windrush Day, 22 June, 10.30am-5pm, free

Windrush Homecoming Celebration, Kentish Town (22 June)

Ska and reggae, African and Caribbean crafts, sports activities for kids, and food and drink galore are on the docket for the Windrush Homecoming Celebration, taking place on Talacre Town Green in Kentish Town West on Windrush Day itself.

Windrush Homecoming Celebration, Kentish Town, 22 June, 12pm-7pm, free

Barnet Celebrates Windrush Day, Barnet Multicultural Centre (22 June)

Stories of Barnet-based Windrushers are shared, alongside Caribbean music, food and more — at Barnet Multicultural Centre's free Windrush Day Celebration.

Barnet Celebrates Windrush Day, Barnet Multicultural Centre, 22 June, 11am-2pm free

Windrush Mini Festival, Swiss Cottage, Kilburn and Camden Town (22, 27, 29 June)

The Windrush
Image: public domain

Stories, street food and arts and crafts are promised at this roving family festival which celebrates Windrush, and pops up in three libraries across the borough of Camden.

Windrush Mini Festival, Swiss Cottage Library (22 June, 11am-12pm), Kilburn Library (27 June, 4pm-5pm), Camden Town Library (29 June, 11.30pm-12.30pm)

Legacies: London Transport's Caribbean Workforce at London Transport Museum (till summer 2024)

two men in carnival outfits hanging from the ceiling of an overground train
Burrokeets Mas Band taking the London Overground to Notting Hill Carnival 2015. © TfL

London Transport Museum's ongoing exhibition, which opened in 2022, shines a spotlight on London Transport workers from the Caribbean. Between 1956 and 1970, many workers were recruited directly from Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica, travelling to London to take up roles such as bus conductors and station staff on the transport network, but struggled with issues including racism, poverty, and the British weather. The exhibition features memories from first, second and third generation Caribbean people who worked for London Transport or still work for Transport for London (TfL). It's open until sometime this summer — catch it while you can.

The Windrush Generation Legacy Association, Croydon (ongoing)

A Windrush era living room
Image: Londonist

No special events have been slated yet for this great community setup in Croydon's Whitgift Centre, although there is a coffee morning (over 50s only) on 20 June — and everyone else is welcome to call in on any Saturday to see 'Gaan a Farin' —  a recreation of a Windrush era front room, dining room, and bedroom; check out whatever temporary exhibition is on show; as well as chat to the volunteers here.

The Windrush Generation Legacy Association, Saturdays, 11am-5pm, free

London, Sugar & Slavery @ Museum of London Docklands (ongoing)

The warehouse building of the Museum of London Docklands
Image: Antony *** via creative commons

The Museum of London Docklands' permanent London, Sugar & Slavery exhibition always makes for a sobering visit: through haunting diagrams of slaves ships, the letters of Ignatious Sancho and antique sugar loaves, you'll learn how the capital played a damning role in the torture and deaths of some 15 million men, women and children — many who perished in the Caribbean.

London, Sugar & Slavery, Museum of London Docklands, ongoing, free

Brixton's Black Cultural Archives (ongoing)

Windrush Day events 2023.
Visit the Black Cultural Archives

Aptly located on Windrush Square, the Black Cultural Archives are home to a reading room, library and exhibition space, dedicated to collecting and recording the stories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. There are several books about the Windrush generation, and 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. In 2021, the BCA teamed up with TfL to release a Black history tube map, with each stop named after an important figure in Black British history.

It's open to the public, or you can explore many of its records online, as well as viewing digital exhibitions.

Have a Caribbean party in London

A carnival performer in gold costume, including head dress and feathers
Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest Caribbean party of the year in London. Image: Shutterstock

Busspepper events specialise in Caribbean parties in London, including regular Bacchanal Fridays inspired by the pre-carnival parties in Trinidad, with Soca music — an offshoot of the Calypso genre — a speciality. Brixton Jamm, Hoxton's Troy Bar and Hootananny Brixton are all ones to watch for regular reggae nights.

And then of course, there's carnival. Over the August bank holiday weekend, the streets of west London come alive with the sounds of Mas, Soca and Calypso for Notting Hill Carnival.

Learn more about the Windrush Generation

Windrush Day events 2023. Older woman playing on bongo drums
Image: Jim Grover

Our 2021 Windrush Day guide included some suggested reading on the topic, whether you want to know more about the personal stories and struggles of members of the Windrush generation, or learn about (or even try) Caribbean cooking.

The Museum of London Docklands also has some online resources, including photographs, documents, and a chance to listen to members of the Windrush generation telling their stories.

And again, we cannot overstate what a fantastic job Brixton's Black Cultural Archives does in recording and sharing the history of Caribbean and African communities here in the UK. In particular, the Windrush: What's Next? podcast, looks to the future in the aftermath of the Windrush Scandal.

Watch our Windrush video

We visited Black Cultural archives ahead of the launch of their new Windrush exhibition, Over A Barrel: Windrush Children Tragedy and Triumph: