HMT Empire Windrush

University of Hull’s Nick Evans on the regions long links with the Caribbean as we prepare to celebrate Windrush Day

As we prepare to celebrate Windrush Day 2021 (June 22), Dr Nicholas Evans, Senior Lecturer in Diaspora History at the University of Hull, speaks about Britain’s long history and involvement with the Caribbean, as a new project highlighting personal ties between Hull and the Caribbean is announced.

This region's links to the Caribbean are very strong. Planters from Hull and the surrounding region were among the earliest colonists settling Barbados in the first half of the seventeenth century; an early Governor of the Island emanated from the Ryedale; Lincolnshire planter, Thomas Thistlewood, had a friend who came from Hull; and trade from the British West Indies arrived at the port of Hull from numerous islands including modern day Barbados, Jamaica, Belize, Haiti and St Kitts.

Whilst other UK ports had stronger links to Caribbean commerce, the bond between both regions are the focus of a new £16,000 project funded by the UK Government's Windrush Grant.

Led by Hull City Council, and drawing upon the expertise of Professor Trevor Burnard and Dr Nicholas Evans from the University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute, the project seeks to highlight personal ties between both regions after the Second World War, a period often described as the Windrush Generation.

During the Second World War thousands of RAF personnel from the Caribbean were based at nearby RAF Hunmanby. It was therefore unsurprising that personal connections established during the war led to people to live, study, or work in our region. They included lawyer Sir Roy Marshall, who became the fourth Vice Chancellor of the University of Hull and the first black leader of any UK university; historian Sir Hilary Beckles, a triple graduate of the University of Hull and present Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies; and rugby captain Clive Sullivan, whose family came from the Caribbean.

On Windrush Day 2021 the Wilberforce Institute welcomes you, on behalf of partners across the City of Hull, to highlight these important migrant ties with the Caribbean at a free online event.

Chaired by Karen Okra, the panellists include Gifty Burrows (Founder of the Africans in Hull and East Yorkshire Project), Dr Nicholas Evans (Senior Lecturer in Diaspora at the University of Hull), and Catherine Ross and Lynda-Louise Burrell (Founders of Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum). Closing remarks will be provided by Councillor Aneesa Akbar, Portfolio Holder for Communities at Hull City Council.

This event has been arranged by the University of Hull in partnership with Wilberforce House Museum, Hull Libraries, Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, Hull City Council, Museumand, The National Caribbean Heritage Museum and the Hull Afro Caribbean Association.

Register for a free place at this Windrush Day webinar.

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