Birmingham residents with Windrush connections are being invited to share their stories of the journey as part of a commemorative display at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
This year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush in Britain. To mark this anniversary, Baroness Floella Benjamin, patron of the Windrush Foundation and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) ambassador, is creating a display at the Chelsea Flower Show with Birmingham City Council to recognise and celebrate the legacy of the Windrush Generation. The display, which is Baroness Benjamin’s concept, aims to capture the pioneering spirit of these passengers.
The RHS had a sponsor – the Windrush Foundation – who had no design or build team and approached Birmingham City Council in December 2017 because of its previous success at Chelsea.
The cost of the display has been covered by sponsorship from a number of businesses and organisations, including the Windrush Foundation, Sunseeker London, Akamba Heritage Centre, Jamaica National Building Society, Pentland Plants, Greenspace Leisure and Mastervent.
A model of the Windrush itself will form the centrepiece of the display. Either side of the ship will be floral displays, one representing life in the Caribbean and the other representing Britain, including representations of the jobs that many of those on board the Windrush did once they arrived in Britain.
Birmingham City Council would like to hear from citizens with Windrush connections – whether a passenger themselves or a relative of someone who was – to share their stories for use as part of the display and promotional material.
After the Chelsea Flower Show, which runs from 22 to 26 May, the display will be rebuilt in Handsworth Park in time for 22nd June, which marks the actual anniversary of the Windrush landing on British shores.
Baroness Floella Benjamin said:
“The Windrush generation helped shaped British society. They are part of the rich tapestry of our culture and have had an influence on almost every aspect of our wonderfully diverse country.
“Creating a garden with the award-winning Birmingham City Council team, which encapsulates all the horticultural richness of the Caribbean and Britain, is both stimulating and joyful. I hope everyone who visits the garden feels some of that magic when they see the display.”
Darren Share, who is leading the work on the display for Birmingham City Council, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be working with Baroness Benjamin and the Windrush Foundation on this exciting project.
“For us, this display presents a unique opportunity to tell the stories of Windrush passengers and their descendants, many of whom went on to play an important role in shaping the Birmingham we know today.
“This is why we want to hear from Birmingham residents with Windrush connections, to ensure that our Chelsea display commemorating this important anniversary tells their stories in the most effective way. If you, a friend, relative or colleague have a story to tell then we would be delighted to hear from you and have you on board for this project.”
To share your story, please email email@example.com.