7.5 Why Should We Remember the Empire Windrush?

In 1948, Parliament passed the British Nationality Act. This meant that all people of the Empire – now called the Commonwealth – had British citizenship, which meant that they could have a British passport and migrate to Britain. Between 1948 and 1970, nearly 500,000 people from the Caribbean settled in Britain. These films show what life was like in Britain for these newly arrived immigrants.

Caution: The language used in some of these clips reflects the time period in which the film was made and includes some terms that are not acceptable today.

1 MIN 53 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1955

Settling in Britain wasn’t easy for many of the new migrants, they faced discrimination, racial tension and low pay. But many thousands of West Indians (and other immigrants) decided to settle in Britain. This newsreel shows that some communities made efforts to welcome the newcomers.


2 MINS 49 SECS, SOUND, B/W,1948

Key Section: 00.45 to end

On 22 June 1948, a ship called the Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury docks in London. This newsreel reports on their arrival and interviews the passengers.


1 MIN 4 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1958

A newsreel film showing some of the racial tensions in Britain in the 1950s, and the discrimination and violence that immigrants faced.


1 MIN 41 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1961

Footage of Brixton’s Granville Arcade, a community where many West Indians settled in London.

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