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Celebrate the Windrush line and all those who arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948

<span>A former lightship repurposed as a floating art and cultural centre marks Empire Windrush Day on 22 June 2023 in Gravesend, Kent.</span><span>Photograph: Fraser Gray/Shutterstock</span>
A former lightship repurposed as a floating art and cultural centre marks Empire Windrush Day on 22 June 2023 in Gravesend, Kent.Photograph: Fraser Gray/Shutterstock

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff’s opinion piece tells us far less than half of the Windrush story (The problem with the Windrush line, 20 February). There is no problem with the Windrush line. The mayor of London is on the right track by so naming it. Brinkhurst-Cuff knows that more than 1,027 passengers arrived at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948 on the Empire Windrush, but may not know that they included diverse groups of people: African-West Indians (often called Afro-Caribbean), Indo-West Indians, Sino-West Indians, Euro-West Indians, Africans and others.

I have used the word West Indians because the second largest numbers of passengers were from Bermuda. The ship had made only one return journey to the West Indies since being launched in 1930. Brinkhurst-Cuff focuses only on those passengers of African heritage.

There was no “Windrush scandal”, but a Home Office scandal. In 2018, the Home Office acknowledged its mistreatment of victims and introduced measures including the creation of a compensation scheme for those affected.

Brinkhurst-Cuff may not have known that it was Windrush Foundation (the first organisation to have organised Windrush commemorations in the UK, from 1995) that in 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the ship’s arrival and that it was the British news media that first created the label “Windrush scandal”. Most of the victims had never heard of the Empire Windrush, and had no family connections with the original passengers.

Windrush Foundation has been working with the mayor of London on the Windrush line project, and we will support every effort to educate the public about the significance of Windrush.
Arthur Torrington
Co-founder, Windrush Foundation

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