A new exhibition opening at St Fagans this weekend features stories of how the Windrush Generation Cymru made their homes in Wales. Windrush Cymru – Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History will be on display at St Fagans from 2 to 31 October 2021 before touring to further national museums across Wales until March 2022.
In 1948, the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex carrying over 1,000 passengers from the Caribbean Islands. They bravely left their friends and families back home in response to Britain’s call for post-war workers. Over the next 40 years, thousands followed in their footsteps, with many making Wales their new home.
The history of the Windrush generation in Wales was recently the focus of an oral history project delivered by Race Council Cymru and funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund. During the course of the project, Windrush Generation Cymru from across the country shared their stories of migration and their memories of forging a new life in Wales.
This exhibition features the stories of over 40 of those Windrush Generation Cymru, told in their own words. The exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to learn about their journeys to Wales, and the challenges they faced in building a new life in a country far from their homelands – finding work and the attitudes of people towards them.
The stories show how the Windrush Generation Cymru, and their descendants, have made their mark in all walks of Welsh life: through the jobs they worked, careers they built, the children they raised, and the contributions they made to our communities and culture.
Windrush Cymru – Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History is delivered by Race Council Cymru in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Wales Millennium Centre, People’s Collection Wales, Windrush Cymru Elders, and Black History Wales 365. With support from Arts Council of Wales, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and Gower College Swansea.
Sioned Hughes, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ Head of Public History and Archaeology, said: “The Windrush Generation and their families have made an invaluable and lasting contribution to Wales, and we are proud to be working in partnership with Race Council Cymru to tell these important stories.
“The oral histories recorded by the Windrush Cymru project will be archived at St Fagans as a permanent record of the lived experiences of the Windrush Generation in Wales. We are immensely grateful to the Windrush Elders for sharing their lived experiences with us for future generations.”
Professor Uzo Iwobi, OBE, founder of Race Council Cymru and initiator of The Windrush Cymru – Our Voices, Our Stories, Our History project, said:
“I am proud to have supported the Elders for many years, hearing their appeals for their stories to be captured for prosperity and continue their legacy for their children and grandchildren. I’m delighted that this project and exhibition have come to fruition – it’s incredibly important to see these stories being passed down to the next generation.”
Vernesta Cyril OBE: “At last society has recognised the Windrush Generation, so our stories can be told for generations to come”.
Mrs Roma Taylor, Founder and Chair of the Windrush Cymru Elders: “I’m so pleased and so proud of this exhibition, it’s a precious moment for each and every one of us. It’s our stories and if we don’t get them out then no one will know. The Windrush is a very painful and emotional subject but all of our stories have to go out. It’s important to us, our children and our grandchildren and for schools. Everyone has to know we have been through a lot. God has brought us through. Tiger Bay was the best place to live, I came over in ‘59. Everybody was for everybody, everyone looked after everyone and you had no problems.”
The exhibition will tour to the following venues:
St Fagans National Museum of History 2 October to 31 October 2021
National Waterfront Museum – 4 November 2021 to 2 January 2022
National Slate Museum – 8 January to 23 January 2022
Bangor University – 9 January to 23 January 2022
National Wool Museum – 27 January to 2 April 2022
Lampeter Campus, University of Wales Trinity St David – 27 January – 2 April 2022
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven national museums in Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum. Entry to each museum is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.
For further information, please contact
Lleucu Cooke, Communications Manager, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales [email protected] , 07961223567
Lisa Gardener, Marketing and Communications Manager, Black History Wales & Race Council Cymru – [email protected]