Windrush coin: Royal Mint release new 50p coin to mark 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving in UK
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The Royal Mint has released a commemorative 50p coin design to mark the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in the UK. Designed by Jamaican-born artist Valda Jackson, the coin depicts two black people standing against the backdrop of the Union flag.
Valda’s design pays tribute to the many British Caribbean and Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1973. Valda’s parents were among the generation of people invited to leave their home in the Caribbean to come and work in Britain. Valda later joined them in 1964 at the age of five.
She said: “It’s more than a celebration of one moment, it is an acknowledgment of the real, lived experience of generations of ordinary working people, and though we may have struggled, and we still struggle in so many ways, we and our descendants are, in fact, at home.
“And this is what the image – these figures and the added Union Jack – represents. I am very happy to have my design selected for this coin, which honours our parents and their legacy; and which celebrates our presence, achievements, and contributions that continue to enrich our society.”
The Royal Mint also worked closely with Dr Juanita Cox, a Caribbean Studies specialist at the University of London. Rebecca Morgan, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint, said: “The Royal Mint is committed to representing and celebrating diversity on UK coinage, and as we approach the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arrival in the United Kingdom, we are honoured to be marking this important anniversary in British history on an official UK 50p coin.
“Windrush has become symbolic of its passengers and today encompasses the subsequent generations who have played a pivotal role in shaping modern British culture and society since the Second World War.”
The term ‘Windrush generation’ is used to describe those who immigrated to the UK from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1971, when the UK implemented stricter immigration policies.
The HMT Empire Windrush became a symbol of the larger mass-migration movement, even though not all Windrush generation migrants arrived on the ship itself. Many of those who came to the UK were veterans of the British armed forces in World War II.
The first ship docked at Tilbury in Essex on June 22, 1948, and many of the passengers onboard HMT Empire Windrush arrived in the United Kingdom hoping for a new life.
The 50p coin is also available as part of The Royal Mint’s annual set – a collection of commemorative coins marking the year’s most significant anniversaries and milestones. You can purchase the coin from The Royal Mint’s website.