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Windrush at 75: Young people share objects that connect them to their past

Young people with Caribbean heritage tell us about the ‘family treasures’, part of a new exhibition celebrating 75 years of Windrush

A photo of the grandparents of Angelina, aged 12,

Amira, aged 13

“This is the suitcase that held all my auntie’s and my uncle’s worldly belongings as we travelled to the UK from Jamaica in 1968. My great aunt says that they use to call the case a ‘grip’.  The fabric in the background is in the colours of the Jamaican flag, it reminds me of a small part of my heritage.” 

Shakeira, aged 16

“This Dutch pot was given to my grandma by her mother when she left Jamaica to come to England in 1960.  She carried it in her suitcase.” 

Hana, aged 10

“This is my great aunt’s bangle. It comes from Guyana and is on a family holy communion veil. It connects me to Guyana.” 

By Hana, aged 10

Shanecia, aged 10

“This Jamaican doll was bought for me by my mother when I was six months old as I lost my teddy on a plane on my vacation in Jamaica. It was very precious and I was crying for it. My dad was born in Jamaica.” 

By Shanecia, aged 10

Cecilia, aged 9

“This seashell box belonged to my grandparents and was passed down to my mother.  It’s precious because it comes from my family that I love. My grandparents come from Jamaica, my mother is Danish and Palestinian.”

By Cecilia, aged 9

Kencia, aged 10 

“This a photo of my grandmother.  The cloth is her nightdress. I wear it to bed sometimes because she wore it to bed in the hospital in Saint Vincent where she died, and she wanted me to have it. It’s passed down the generations. It’s precious because it’s the only thing I have left. I will give this to my oldest child.”

By Kencia, aged 10

Caspian, aged three years and nine months

“This clock belongs to my great grandma, who came to London in 1966. Great grandma said time is precious and Jamaica is precious to her too.”

By Caspian, aged three years and nine months

Angelina, aged 12 

“This is a photograph of my grandparents, Estelle and James; it belongs to my mum. I chose this because I never met my grandad and he looks so handsome.”

By Angelina, aged 12

Dexter, aged 11 

“This is my grandma’s passport which she used when she came to Britain in 1955 when she was 19. It’s on a doily which contained biscuits on her voyage from Jamaica.” 

By Dexter, aged 11

Freddy, aged 17

“My dad and my aunty used this passport when they travelled to the UK from Jamaica on 24 September 1968, he was seven and she was nine. It was very important that they still had this as he got caught up in the ‘Windrush scandal’, when many people were not able to prove when they had arrived in the UK. The old visa was stamped in their passport, showing when he arrived. My dad passed away in 2018, before he could hold his own passport. He was on his hospital bed when they tried to deliver it. He had lived here for 50 years and never left the UK.”

Seventy-five of these treasures are on display as part of a new body of work by award-winning social-documentary photographer Jim Grover, which also includes portraits of individuals and groups their heritage and traditions for current and future generations.

By Freddy, aged 17

Windrush: A Voyage through the Generations is at Clapham Library, South London  until 2 September.  

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