It carried 1,027 passengers, 802 of which were British subjects, including men, women and children, who gave their last country of residence as somewhere in the Caribbean, travelling to the United Kingdom hoping to start a new life. Marking the date of disembarkation, Windrush Day takes place on 22 June each year.
Whilst it was not the first ship to transport British Caribbean passengers to the country following the Second World War, many of the people on board were UK ex-service personnel. These people sought work in the ‘mother country’, as the war had left the UK with a significant labour shortage and a decimated economy. By 1961, the national population census recorded 161,000 Caribbean-born people were living in England and Wales.
Windrush garnered much attention upon its arrival and has since become symbolic for many of the Caribbean communities who, alongside numerous Commonwealth citizens, arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1973. They played a pivotal role in rebuilding the UK after the Second World War, as well as shaping modern British culture and society.