Video Message by Prime Minister Theresa May on Windrush Day
22 June 2019
71 years ago today, the MV Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury, bringing with it not only several hundred new arrivals from the Caribbean but also a whole new chapter in British history.
The men and women who stepped ashore in Essex that day were the first of some half a million who arrived from across the Commonwealth over the next quarter of a century.
In doing so, they helped rebuild post-war Britain, laying the foundations for the country we know today and making our culture richer and our society stronger.
In recognition of that, I announced last year that the 22 June would forever be marked as our national Windrush Day – an annual opportunity to remember the hard work and sacrifice of the Windrush Generation, and celebrate the contribution they and their descendants made and continue to make – to British life.
All this week, government-funded school projects, street parties, exhibitions, talks and workshops are recognizing and honouring that great legacy.
And today, we have announced that the new national Windrush memorial will be built right in the heart of Waterloo Station.
In the 1950s and 60s, the station was where many people from the Caribbean arrived in London after docking at Southampton and a place to which those who had already made the crossing would flock in search of friends and relatives.
Today, millions of people from around the world pass through the station each year, and the new memorial will remind each of them of the tremendous debt our country owes to the Windrush Generation. When Britain made the call for help, they did not hesitate to answer.
So on this Windrush Day, and every day, let us give thanks to those pioneering men and women. They crossed an ocean to build a future for themselves, for their communities and, above all, for the United Kingdom – the country that will always be their home.