A memorial to the Windrush generation will be created at London’s Waterloo Station, the Prime Minister has announced.
Up to £1 million in funding has been earmarked by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for a “lasting, fitting tribute”.
Situated at the country’s busiest railway station, Theresa May said the permanent monument will be seen by “millions of people from all around the world” every year.
The memorial was announced on Saturday, as the first Windrush Day is observed to mark 71 years since the arrival of the first “pioneers”.
“The Windrush generation helped lay the foundations for the country we know today, which is richer and stronger as a result of their hard work and dedication to the UK,” Mrs May said.
“This monument will be a lasting legacy to the tremendous contribution the Windrush generation and their children have made to our great country.”
June 22 was the day when around 500 migrants from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 aboard the MV Empire Windrush, at the invitation of the British government, to help rebuild the UK in the aftermath of the Second World War.
But in recent years, ministers and the Home Office have come under fire over revelations on how members of the Windrush generation and their children have been wrongly detained and deported – and others denied access to healthcare, work, housing benefits and pensions.
In the wake of the scandal, the Prime Minister established the Windrush Commemoration Committee to consider how best to create a permanent, fitting tribute to the Windrush generation and their descendants.
The committee’s chairwoman, Baroness Floella Benjamin, said: “Having a Windrush monument located at Waterloo Station where thousands of Windrush pioneers – including children like myself – first arrived in London, will be a symbolic link to our past as we celebrate our future.
“The Committee is determined to build a monument of great beauty and emotional impact which will lift the hearts of those who visit when it’s unveiled. I hope it will inspire pride and a sense of belonging to all those associated with the Windrush story.”
The committee will work with designers over the coming months on a scheme for the memorial.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Waterloo Station has been the gateway for generations of people coming to Britain. It stands at the heart of the Windrush story and will provide a central location to allow us all to reflect on our shared history and heritage.
“As communities across the country celebrate National Windrush Day, people in years to come will have a permanent reminder of the outstanding contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants.”
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