New oral history project will commemorate Windrush generation


A PROJECT to commemorate the Windrush generation and the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK is being launched by Sandwell Museums.

The aim of What’s in the Case? is to collect the stories of the first wave of Commonwealth citizens who travelled to Britain to live, work and make it their home in the years after the Second World War.

Sandwell Museums is inviting people to take part in a series of interviews, which will take place via phone, Skype or Zoom, in order to collect their stories and memories of their journey to Britain and – what they packed in their cases. 

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, said: “‘What’s in the case?’ 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.”

The project is funded by the ministry of housing, communities and local government’s Windrush scheme and Sandwell council’s museums and arts service.

Deputy leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “It’s important to remember the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK and to celebrate diversity and the many cultures and people that make Sandwell great.”

For more information and to take part email

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