BY TOBY PORTER
Families of immigrants who came over to reconstruct post-war Britain have criticised plans to place a tribute to them at Waterloo. Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the monument would be placed at Waterloo railway station.
But former Deputy Mayor of London Lee Jasper believes the upcoming Windrush Monument should be placed in Windrush Square in Brixton.
Mr Jasper said: “A Windrush memorial would be perfectly situated in Brixton’s Windrush Square. Brixton is the de facto black capital of multicultural Europe.
“Our deep history and connectivity with community means it’s a perfect place for developing the kind of cultural themed tourism that has seen areas like Chinatown, Bangla town, Notting Hill, the Irish quarter, the Italian quarter, all thrive as popular London tourist destinations.
All have distinct cultural character and heritage shaping their contemporary history. “In short, Brixton is Windrush.”
He was backed by the Windrush Foundation, whose chairman Arthur Torrington said survivors and their families wanted it to be in Brixton, in Windrush Square, and that Waterloo railway station had “nothing to do” with Windrush.
“Windrush is about 1948,” he told The Guardian.
“We don’t understand why the Government can’t consult more. This monument is being imposed to our disgust.” Crying Sons director Gwenton Sloley agreed, and said Brixton was the most suitable location.
He said: “Brixton is the only part of London currently that still has a feeling of Windrush togetherness, even with the higher rate of gentrification.”
Windrush Day was celebrated annually on June 22 through Government-funded community-led events across the country, including street-parties, workshops, performances and exhibitions.
The Government chose Waterloo for the monument because many arriving families passed through the station on their way to their new homes.
Chairwoman of the Windrush Commemoration Committee, Baroness Floella Benjamin, said: “Having a Windrush monument at Waterloo railway 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.
Mrs May said: “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.
“This monument will be seen by millions of people from all around the world who pass through this station each year, and will be a lasting legacy to the tremendous contribution the Windrush Generation and their children have made to our great country.”