Tribute to HMT Windrush unveiled at Tilbury Town station

22 June 2023

[22 June 2023] A special plaque to commemorate the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush has been unveiled today at c2c’s Tilbury Town station.

The plaque was officially unveiled by Cllr Qaisar Abbas, Deputy Mayor of Thurrock, Tunde Ojetola, Thurrock BME Group Director, Deputy Lieutenant of Essex Sidra Naeem, c2c’s Customer Experience Director Abu Siddeeq, Jackie Doyle-Price MP and the Deputy Mayor of Basildon, Yetunde Adeshile.

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The group were joined by a host of special guests including Gateway Learning Community, who treated those assembled to a rendition of specially commissioned song ‘Tilbury is the Place for Me.’ The song was written by children of the Trust in partnership with Thurrock-based arts organisation, Kinetika, as part of its T100 festival of walking, talking and making.

Deputy Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Qaisar Abbas, said: “I’m delighted to unveil this plaque at Tilbury Town Station, marking exactly 75 years since the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks.

“The legacy of the Empire Windrush’s arrival, the Windrush Generation and their descendants is reflected in our motto ‘By Thames to all the Peoples of the World’ which celebrates and recognises their contribution to British culture today and within our diverse communities.”

Tunde Ojetola, Thurrock BME Group Director and the first black Mayor of Thurrock who spearheaded this joint community project with c2c and Thurrock Council, said: “Windrush has become an important part of black history in the UK and in Thurrock. It symbolises a determination to work together to uproot discrimination and racism. Thurrock BME Group was founded with this vision in mind and we are pleased that c2c and the Council have embraced this initiative.”

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c2c Customer Experience Director, Abu Siddeeq, added: “It is an honour to be here today to mark this great occasion. Our railway continues to play an important part in connecting our communities and c2c is pleased to be able to host this wonderful event.

“Tilbury is proud of its connections with the Empire Windrush and this plaque provides a permanent tribute to the history of this area.”

The HMT Empire Windrush sailed on 24 May and arrived at Tilbury Docks on 22 June 1948 after 30 days at sea. It brought the first groups of post-war West Indian immigrants to the United Kingdom. The arrival of the ship has become symbolic of a generation of Commonwealth citizens who came to live in Britain between 1948 and 1971.

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Passengers disembarking HMT Empire Windrush would have used Tilbury Riverside station for their onward journey. The station was closed in 1981 and last year, plans were announced to fully refurbish the Grade II listed historic Riverside Railway Station.

More information about events to commemorate the 75th Windrush anniversary can be found here.

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