Windrush and Other Immigrants: A Tale of Connections

From Planet 234

by Mike Joseph

Mike Joseph recounts an uncanny chain of coincidences, drawing on his experience as the child of German Jewish refugees in Cardiff and his career in journalism, which led him to reflect on the histories of Jewish and Black people in Britain, and the racist violence faced by both communities.

Africans reached Britain with the Romans, centuries before the English, 700 years before the Empire Windrush. Yet ‘Windrush’ is iconic of black arrival in Britain. For me, ‘Windrush’ evokes a chain of coincidences sparked forty years ago and still unfolding.

In June 1948, the Windrush docked at Tilbury. Daily Worker reporter Peter Fryer wrote of the disembarking Jamaicans – ‘Five hundred pairs of willing hands’. Picture Post sent Robert Kee to follow Windrush immigrants who settled in Liverpool, encountering violent hostility from neighbours and police.

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