Windrush: Portrait of a Generation

gallery@oxo, London


Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks, Jim Grover’s extensive photo-essay depicts the communities of first-generation migrants from the Caribbean that blossomed in Clapham and Brixton. The essay charts the lives of 11 Windrushers, with a series of archival photos complemented by interview transcripts, each introduced with new portraiture by Grover.

Together, the photo-stories offer a broad look at West Indian culture in South London, taking in the game of bones (or dominoes), the central role of the church in Caribbean family life, and Jamaican funerary rituals such as ‘Nine Night’. Some of these traditions persevere (bones is still played three times a week in Clapham clubrooms), but the exhibition also considers the lives of the second generation, and the decisions they face as to whether to continue with old customs from the Caribbean. Documenting both the personal stories of individuals, and the collective life of a community, this exhibition captures a piece of living history. Find out more about the ‘Windrush’ exhibition from its website.

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Alford Gardner: March 15th, 2018

Alford Gardner in 2018 at the age of 92. He is one of the tiny number of survivors from SS Empire Windrush that brought 492 Caribbean migrants, mostly from Jamaica, to Britain in 1948.  ‘I’ve lived a brilliant life here’. Photo: Jim Grover

Alford Gardner (right) in Blackpool, 1944

Alford Gardner (right) in Blackpool, 1944. Alford joined the RAF as a motor mechanic and engineer and arrived in Britain from Jamaica in 1944, aged 17. Photo courtesy Jim Glover

Alford’s 1948 passport. Jamaica was a British colony until its independence in 1962. Photo: Jim Grover

Dominoes being played by first generation migrants in a club in Clapham

Dominoes being played by first generation migrants in a club in Clapham. Photo courtesy Jim Grover

When ‘The Mother Country’ called for help in 1944, some 16,000 West Indians joined the war effort. Photo courtesy Jim Grover

Event website