Sandwell remembers the HMT Empire Windrush generation and first Commonwealth arrivals

Sandwell Museums are launching a project to remember the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK.

The ‘What’s in the case?’ project is funded jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Windrush Scheme and Sandwell Council's Museums and Arts Service.

The aim is to collect the stories of the first wave of Commonwealth citizens travelling to Britain to live, work and make it their home in the years after the Second World War. Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member responsible for museums, said:

“Sandwell and the rest of the UK would not be the diverse and culturally rich place it is today without the Windrush generations and every new Commonwealth arrival since then.

“We want to hear from that generation and their descendants, about their journey and the lives and experiences they have had since arriving.”

Councillor Jackie Taylor, cabinet member for sustainable transport, who became the first African Caribbean councillor elected in Sandwell in 2014, added:

“This project captures the dreams of my parents when they arrived in Birmingham in 1957. I am immensely proud of the bravery of that generation of people who travelled into the unknown from the Commonwealth.

“My parents arrived from Jamaica with not only the dreams for themselves and their families, but also that of British society and what they could contribute to it.

“I look forward to the project and richness of stories that I know will emerge, to inspire a new generation."

Sandwell Museums would like participants to take part in a series of interviews via phone, Skype or Zoom to collect their stories and memories of their journey to Britain and of course, what they packed in their cases. 

To take part, or request more information, please email


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