Timeline 1900 – 2024

“Windrush” and the era of mass in-migration

The arrival on the “Windrush” from the Caribbean at Tilbury in June 1948 marked the beginning of an era of mass in-migration from New Commonwealth countries. This transformed race relations in Britain and brought about a ‘mixed’ population far larger than the country had experienced in the pre-Second World War years. In 1951 there were 1.6 million people living in Britain who were born outside the UK, of whom 0.2 million were born in the New Commonwealth. By 1971 there were 3 million people who were born outside the UK of whom 1.2 million were born in the New Commonwealth. The opportunities to form inter-racial unions based on sheer numbers were vastly increased. Moreover, this population born in the New Commonwealth settled in the major towns and cities of the UK, bringing about a transformation in the port-dominated distributions of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1971, for example, the areas with more than 20,000 New Commonwealth born were London (476,000), Birmingham (64,000), Leicester (23,000), Bradford (23,000), and Wolverhampton (20,000). Eight London boroughs each had more than 20,000: Brent, Haringey, Lambeth, Ealing, Wandsworth, Hackney, Islington, and Newham. (186 words)