By Baronness Floella Benjamin
Since being appointed in 2017 as Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee, which includes Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Tim Campbell OBE, Paulette Simpson and Ken Olisa – Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, we have faced a rollercoaster of unforeseen circumstances. Firstly Brexit, then COVID-19 which have both proved challenging.
Things got off to a great start because we were very fortunate to be able to announce on Windrush Day 2019, that the Committee had chosen the main concourse of Waterloo Station as the location for the Windrush Monument.
The purpose of the Monument is to commemorate the thousands of Caribbeans who arrived in Britain, not just on the Empire Windrush itself, but over the period between the 1940s and 1970’s. Thousands of Caribbeans passed through this central London iconic heritage location, before dispersing across the UK. The Monument will also contain a digital time capsule, documenting British Black history.
The station itself has a wonderful archive of photographs of this Windrush era which will be included.
Waterloo station is about to undergo a £200m transformation and the Monument will be central to it which means millions of visitors will see it. It’s also planned that each year there will be spectacular Windrush Day celebration at the station.
When the Covid-19 crisis has passed, the Committee will set about appointing a sculptor to create a significant Monument for the nation to be proud of, to celebrate the Windrush Generation.
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