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Hundreds celebrate 70 years of Windrush in Ilford

PUBLISHED: 14:12 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:20 02 July 2018

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury.

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury.

Archant

Hundreds came together in their sharpest suits and dresses to mark the arrival of the Windrush, and its Caribbean passengers from, in Tilbury Docks 70 years ago to the day.

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Organisers Janice Irwin, Weininger Irwin and Sade JohnsonPeople coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Organisers Janice Irwin, Weininger Irwin and Sade Johnson

Hundreds came together in their sharpest suits and dresses to mark the arrival of the Windrush, and its Caribbean passengers, in Tilbury Docks 70 years ago to the day.

Around two hundred people gathered at the Ilford Sports Centre, in Cricklefield Place, to celebrate the Windrush generation’s contribution to Britain on Friday, June 22.

Centre manager Weininger Irwin, 55, who organised the event with his wife and friend Sade Johnson, wore a brown pin-stripe suit, tilted trilby and carried a brown suitcase akin to those carried by his ancestors who arrived by boat.

The event kicked off with a version of the Antiques Roadshow with a Caribbean-twist, with Caribbean senior citizens sharing the stories behind their beloved objects from the 1950s.

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury.People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury.

“People brought in enamel cups and pineapples,” Weininger said.

“In the Caribbean, it was sacrilege if you didn’t have a pineapple, or an ice bucket or an ornamental glass fish in psychedelic colours.”

“Some one brought in a lantern too.

“Back in the early 1950s you needed a lantern to find your way back home there was so much fog.”

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Hermel Irwin who was born in Jamaica in 1942 shows off her old passportPeople coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Hermel Irwin who was born in Jamaica in 1942 shows off her old passport

Dr William Les Henry, a senior lecturer at the University of West London, gave a 30-minute lecture on the resilience of the Windrush generation in the face of racism.

“He talked about how difficult it was for his parents to get a job and accommodation in the days of ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish,” Weininger said.

“But they persevered and helped the UK to get up off its knees and become the vibrant economy it is today.”

A soundtrack of Soca and Reggae was provided by band Intense Force, while Casey Pearl sang Caribbean classics.

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Janice Irwin and Sade Johnson show some of the memorabillia that people have brought along.People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Janice Irwin and Sade Johnson show some of the memorabillia that people have brought along.

Residents took part in Quadrille - a style of Caribbean folk dance - and ate a meal of jerk chicken and stewed steamed fish.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes gave an opening address and pupils from Mayfield School, in Pedley Road, also attended.

The event ended with a screening of BBC Two documentary Back in Time Brixton tracing the journey of Weininger’s family.

Weininger said: “We got so much positive feedback, this is something we’re going to celebrate in Rebdridge every year.”

People coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Organisers Janice Irwin, Weininger Irwin and Sade JohnsonPeople coming together to celebrate 70 years to the day that the Windrush landed at Tilbury. Organisers Janice Irwin, Weininger Irwin and Sade Johnson

The sports centre also run regular tea parties for caribbean seniors, with next set for July 27 at 3.30pm.

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