The Voyage of the Empire Windrush
‘Will you find out who is responsible for this extraordinary action?’
Oliver Stanley, M.P., June 1948.
‘Nothing to worry about’
Arthur Creech-Jones, Colonial Secretary, June 1948
As with ‘The Foundation of Israel’, I have found this topic difficult to deal with under my preferred format.
- Quite unprecedentedly, the first eighteen sources that I looked at which ought to have included the matter made no reference to it at all.
- Even more surprising, when I purchased large books on the Labour Government (one ‘Labour in Power’ published by OUP and written by the left wing Oxford academic K.O.Morgan and the other a sympathetic biography of Attlee) neither of them referred to the event either!
- One of the most detailed accounts (replicated in several places) was a piece which took for granted that the event had disastrous consequences, but attributed them all to Jewish conspiracy https://newswithviews.com/the-ss-empire-windrush-the-mayflower-in-reverse/
After spending longer than I usually do on a single piece, and delving extensively into Hansard, I was left with the feeling that this event was not the result of a conspiracy, but of a series of accidents, later to be portrayed as conspiracy either (a) to destroy Western civilisation in revenge for imperialism and/or maximise Jewish power and influence or (b) to promote inclusiveness.
- I cannot find the trenchant quote by Oliver Stanley, quoted above, which I found in ‘News With Views’ in any other source.
- The bibliography of books after No 33 is on p. 28.
While the Labour leadership was quite prepared to see Zionist settlers displace the Palestinian population, they had no intention of allowing European Jewish refugees, the survivors of the Holocaust, into Britain. (24) This had been the policy of the Churchill Coalition government, wholeheartedly supported by Attlee as Deputy Prime Minister and by Herbert Morrison as Home Secretary, during the war. (24) They refused to open Britain up to Jews fleeing the Nazis, setting their faces against any policy of ‘rescue’. (24) During the war, thousands of Caribbean men and women had been recruited to serve in the armed forces. (20,26) When Britain called on the Caribbean for support in World War Two, more than 10,000 men and women crossed the Atlantic in response. (20) In Lancashire factories, airfields in Kent and forests in the Scottish Highlands, West Indians provided fundamental support to the war effort. (20) However, few made it to the front line. (20) This was because black West Indians faced another battle – against racism. (20) The government’s exclusionary policy continued once the war had come to an end. (24) The Labour government was determined to keep Jewish people out and, as far as possible, to repatriate people from the Caribbean who had either come to Britain as war workers or who had served in the armed forces. (24) By contrast, 200,000 East Europeans, Ukrainians and Balts who had been in a surrendered SS Division were accommodated, because (24) there was a chronic postwar shortage of labour. (24,26) [OR] in spite of the myth of a labour shortage later propagated to justify the coming of the invaders, no industry was seriously undermanned. (32) In Parliament in April 1948 the following exchange1 occurred:
Sir Patrick Donner, MP for Basingstoke:
Which countries does the Parliamentary Secretary propose to visit for the purpose of recruiting labour for work in the United Kingdom; the date when this journey will commence; the duration of it; and the estimated cost involved.
Mr. George Isaacs , (Minister of Labour & MP for Southwark)
The Parliamentary Secretary has no present plans for such visits.
On 4th May2 Mr Isaacs said
“it is estimated that during 1948 the effect of emigration (assisted and unassisted) on the size of the total insured population will be more or less cancelled out by immigration. … There is a need for populating the British Commonwealth with British citizens as much as possible.”
Prior to 1962 (30) there were no immigration restrictions for citizens of one part of the British Empire moving to another part. (22,30) They could settle indefinitely in the UK without restrictions. (30) Enoch Powell was a conviction politician who was independently minded. (29) Primarily he was a conservative and staunch defender of the constitution and British interests as he saw them. (29) In his early years he was a staunch defender of the British Empire, but (20) his ambition to become the viceroy of India ended abruptly when India became independent in 1947 so he joined the Conservatives and worked for the Conservative Research Department. (25) After Indian Independence in 1947, he argued Britain should no longer maintain an Empire but give it up as it was no longer in a position to maintain it. (29)
The British Nationality Act, 1948 (30,48) was passing through parliament as the Windrush arrived. (48) The extension of citizenship to the smaller ‘colonies’, rather than just to the more substantial ‘Dominions’ was opposed by some: on the day before the Windrush arrived Lord Altrincham3 expressed in the House of Lords4
“Our dislike of this new citizenship, and, indeed, considerable anxiety about many of its implications and possible repercussions. … I myself have spent a good deal of time in the Colonies, and I know how strongly the natives feel with regard to their position as British subjects. I understand that under the Bill as it is now worded, they will, in the first instance, be citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and subsequently they will be regarded as British subjects. … But I do not for a moment see why, because the Dominions, who are self-governing and supreme in their own countries, desire a change by reason of the development in these days of strong nationality in places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and so on, it should be necessary to apply that to our Colonies, which have not reached that stage of development and have not the desire for this change. (40)
The Act was passed at the end of July, 1948; it came into force on January 1st 1949. (48) It did indeed give the status of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to all British subjects connected with the United Kingdom or a British colony. (30)
The HMT5 Empire Windrush
The Empire Windrush will live in infamy in the minds of European nationalists. (32) Its story is a manifestation of the gradual destruction of the white race and its cultures. (32) If it hadn’t been for the Second World War, the Empire Windrush and her passengers might not have made the voyage at all. (26) In one of history’s unintended ironies, the vessel that would mark the end of racial homogeneity in Britain commenced life as a National Socialist cruise liner. (32) It was commissioned in 1930 as the MV Monte Rosa. (32) Until World War II, she was employed (32) as a cruise boat (27,32) in the “Strength Through Joy” National Socialist program to give more than 25 million Germans an opportunity to enjoy free cruises and leisure pursuits during their vacations. (32) The program was seen as a means to break down class barriers and enhance the German sense of community, as there was no privileged status such as first-class accommodations or perks given to certain passengers and not others. (32) The ship was converted to military purposes in 1939. (32) She was one of several vessels later turned into a hospital and evacuation ship employed to help rescue many thousands of Germans trapped in Latvia, East Prussia and Danzig by the rapid westward advance of the Red Army toward the end of the war. (32) In May 1945, the Monte Rosa’s German career ended when she was captured by British forces. (32) She was one of several former German vessels passed on (32,33) during 1947 and 1948 (33) to Commonwealth shipping companies, (32,33) primarily Jewish owned, (32) at the discretion of the Ministry for War and the Ministry for Transport (33) a process authorised by the Jewish secretary of state for war, Emanuel Shinwell6. (32) To Shinwell, disproportionately handing government vessels and contracts to fellow Jews would have been mere grist to the mill. (33) The ‘Monte Rosa’ was renamed the SS Empire Windrush and handed over to the Jewish-owned (32) New Zealand Shipping Company7. (33) In 1948 the British Empire was crumbling. (33) India had been granted independence in 1947, and an exhausted, over-stretched, and indebted Britain was busy arranging for the return of colonial troops to their homelands, and the collection of others for present or future conflicts. (33) These were crucial years in which many foreign and domestic ex-military vessels were being re-purposed for commercial purposes and handed over by the Royal Navy to private (most often Jewish-owned) companies. (33) Much like the nepotistic corruption at the heart of the Marconi scandal, having a Jew running the Ministry for War and a Jewish cousin running the Ministry for Transport was good news for Cousinhood members who had monopolized shipping companies and routes and now stood to gain from successive government contracts to newly acquisitioned vessels like the Empire Windrush, (33) which was employed to ferry British troops from their Commonwealth outposts back to their homelands. (32) Sailing from Southampton, the ship took British troops to destinations as varied as Suez, Aden, Colombo, Singapore and Hong Kong. (33) In 1948, it was en route from Australia to England via the Atlantic. (22) It docked in (22,26) Kingston, (22,27) Jamaica (22,26) to pick up servicemen who were on leave from their units. (26)
In February 1948 Baldwin was appointed Governor and Commander in Chief of the Leeward Islands, a British colonial territory in the Caribbean. (33 Creech Jones) Boyle accompanied him, to the disapproval of some of the British establishment in Antigua. Baldwin arrived in Antigua in March 1948. (33 Creech Jones) Partly for this reason, and partly because Baldwin made no secret of his continuing socialist views or his desire for multiracial inclusiveness, he was recalled in 1950. (33 Creech Jones)
The individuals who set sail from the Caribbean after the second world war were not the first West Indians to reach British shores. (45) There are records of black people in London dating back to Roman times, and non-white characters appear in diverse artworks of the last several centuries. (45) Wildly divergent estimates by the end of the 1700s put London’s black population at many thousands; high enough to attract discussion and, it seems likely, concern. (45) Detail from frame four of William Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode (1743) – an artwork that indicates black people were not as uncommon in London in bygone centuries as sometimes thought. (45) In fact, black Londoners were for some time deemed ‘weird’ enough that relatively detailed records exist of them. (45) Harold Moody, a doctor in Peckham in the first part of the 20th century, set up the League of Coloured Peoples — which is known to have provided housing to those in need. (45) That was before either the Ormonde or Almanzora docked on British shores. (45) Think also, then, of the bravery of those people who set sail from the Caribbean even before the Windrush made its fateful landing — and whose voyages have been even less publicised, both at the time and throughout history. (45) The Ormonde sailed from Jamaica to Liverpool in March 1947. (45) Ralph Lowe was one of its 108 passengers who paid his £28 fare to cross the Atlantic along with other Jamaicans, Bermudans, and Trinidadians. (45) He settled in London and — aptly enough — made a career as a professional gambler. (45) Sadly, the fates of his co-travellers are less known. (45) There were few fixed abodes recorded on the ship’s passenger list. (45) Many of those bearing London postcodes simply proved to be youth hostels. (45) Lowe himself entered the Colonial Service Club in Marylebone. (45) His daughter, the poet Hannah Lowe, encapsulates this mystery in Ormonde, a poetry anthology whose title piece includes the following lines:
and all the passengers step from the ship
and through a coverlet of mist
then slip like whispers into tenements and backstreets
Later that year came the Almanzora, docking at Southampton on 21 December 1947. (45) Like the Ormonde, it was an ex-troopship, and like the Ormonde, it carried a number of ex-troops from the West Indies who had fought for Britain in the second world war. (45) In his memoir, Now You Know, Allan Wilmot recalls how hard it was to live in London as a black man who was ‘only’ a former serviceman. (45) Life hadn’t been easy while stationed in the UK during the war, in the Navy and then the RAF. (45) Non-white soldiers were routinely abused and Wilmot himself had actually endured speculation as to whether or not he lived in a tree. (45) But this seems to have been nothing compared to the jobless desperation he now faced. (45) Forget his distinguished service for the Empire: doors were now slammed in Wilmot’s face, available jobs became suddenly unavailable, and the “no Irish, no coloured, no dogs” signs of historical infamy were produced. (45) Wilmot says he would catch the final train to Uxbridge simply to sleep on it overnight, before riding back to Waterloo to do his laundry. (45) His tale was to prove one of extraordinary resilience. (45) Some odd jobs led to occasional singing work in the West End, his musical career soon developing into something fully-fledged. (45) With The Southlanders — a Caribbean vocal group whose name acknowledged that all of its members now lived in south London — he enjoyed a quarter-century of stardom, briefly listing George Martin as his recording manager at Abbey Road Studios, and sharing stages with the likes of Cliff Richard, Petula Clark and Bob Hope. (45) Others on the Almanzora were to achieve unlikely fame too, though unsurprisingly not of the same degree. (45) One Ken Hunter, a fellow muso, is said by Wilmot to have systematically overcharged for his London performances; his career ultimately stalling there and then. (45) And then there were perhaps two or three thousand West Indians who didn’t require transport ships to ceremonially migrate to Britain, since they remained here after their wartime service and didn’t go home after being demobbed. (45) What you glean from Wilmot’s story is that this all helped. (45) It’s not hard to work out why people took the Ormonde from Jamaica to Liverpool in March 1947. (45) The choice — insofar as it was one — was between a desperate lack of jobs in a hierarchical colony, or the land of hope and glory they’d been taught to admire from birth. (45) Many of the men may have already had a taste thanks to wartime service. (45) Nonetheless, this was still a leap into the unknown. (45) Jamaica’s Daily Gleaner advertised outbound tickets, but no returns. (45)
As a result of post-war labour shortages in the UK, (19) there was a drive to recruit labour from the Commonwealth to cover employment shortages in state-run services like the NHS and London Transport. (27) [OR] In spite of the myth of a labour shortage later propagated to justify the coming of the invaders, no industry was seriously undermanned. (32) In an intervention in Parliament, on 11th May, which prefigured the Windrush episode, Mr. Sorensen asked the Attorney-General
if he will consider the introduction of legislation making it illegal on the part of any lessor or landlord to refuse a lease or tenancy to anyone because of their colour; and to make void any restriction of that character in existing contracts or agreements. (38) The Attorney-General replied: ‘I hope that public opinion will soon be strong enough to prevent this deplorable kind of racial discrimination, for this would be more effective than any legislation that could be devised. Meanwhile, however, the question whether anything can be done by legislation on the lines suggested by the hon. Member is under consideration.’ (38)
Discussions had revolved round over, rather than under-population: in a speech on 26th May it was stated by Lord Fairfax of Cameron to be
“vital that the United Kingdom should (disperse) her population throughout the British Commonwealth… (or there would be) … drab austerity”. The population has now risen to well over 49,000,000 and although the birth-rate is falling the total population is likely to go on increasing until, I believe, 1970 or 1980. The people of this country are living in overcrowded conditions. (40) 8
Lord Tweedsmuir spoke in the same debate of: “the great numbers of people who now have their names down to emigrate—I believe nigh upon a million”. (40) the Earl of Portsmouth9 said “Quite honestly, I do not think we are short of labour; we are short of the right labour being directed into the right channels. We are absolutely overburdened with parasitic labour.” (40) There was no call for unskilled labour:
Not only is the general labourer to a large extent at a discount in the labour market nowadays but, what is equally important, he is conscious of being at a discount. He feels that he is condemned to one level for the rest of his life and that, without some extraneous aid, it will never be possible for him to advance himself and to give more opportunities to his family.
On 10th June another debate on employment took place10: The First Lord of the Admiralty (Viscount Hall) spoke of the importance of maintaining a high and stable level of employment.
“It may from time to time be necessary to guide people into particular industries, and to conduct special recruiting campaigns for industries in which the national interest requires an expansion of employment. To-day, the textile, coal and agricultural industries are cases in point. It may from time to time be necessary to guide people into particular industries, and to conduct special recruiting campaigns for industries in which the national interest requires an expansion of employment. To-day, the textile, coal and agricultural industries are cases in point.
One June 15th, just a week before the Windrush arrived, a Question on ‘West Indians and Africans’ was asked in the Commons11. (40)
- Mr. W. Griffiths asked the Minister of Labour how many men of East and West African and West Indian origin are registered as unemployed in the City of Manchester at the nearest convenient date; and what were the comparable figures for 1945, 1946 and 1947.
- Mr. Ness Edwards12 I regret that statistics giving the information desired are not available.
- Mr. Griffiths Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are a considerable number of unemployed coloured men in the City of Manchester; and, in view of the difficulty they are facing in securing employment, will he do everything possible to dissuade these irresponsible people who are sending shiploads of West Indians to this country without there being any jobs here waiting for them?
- Mr. Ness Edwards The latter part of the supplementary question will be dealt with in answer to the next Question on the Order Paper. On the first part, our difficulty is not in finding these men jobs but in finding them private billets. Private billeting raises a matter of very great social consequence, and embarrasses us very greatly indeed in placing these men.
- Mr. McCorquodale13 asked the Minister of Labour if he has any further statement to make on the circumstances surrounding the journey of 400 West Indians to this country to seek employment.
- Mr. Driberg14 asked the Minister of Labour if he has been able to ascertain how many of the 400 West Indians, who are on their way to this country in search of work, are skilled workers and in what trades; on what date their ship is due to arrive; and what provision is being made for their accommodation on arrival.
- Mr. Ness Edwards I understand that these men are coming to Great Britain at their own expense and of their own initiative. I cannot say how many of them are skilled workers until they have registered at an employment exchange, where their qualifications and experience can be assessed. I understand that the ship is due on 22nd June. Provision of accommodation for persons who arrive in Great Britain in these circumstances is not a matter for my Department.
- Mr. McCorquodale Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that it would be very much better if these men were interviewed before they left, and proper arrangements made for them by the time they arrived?
- Mr. Ness Edwards The right hon. Gentleman has had great experience at the Ministry of Labour and he will know how extremely difficult it is if even our own people are transferred about this country, and it now falls upon the Ministry of Labour to find them accommodation. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the Ministry has accepted that responsibility only for any worker it drafts, directs, or finds work for in any part of the country. If we are now to be asked to do this for these men, we are being asked to do something for them which we have refused to do for our own people.
- Mr. McCorquodale When these men do arrive, does the Parliamentary Secretary expect full co-operation from the trade unions, employers and others in 226 assembling them into mines, transport and other occupations where they might be of use?
- Mr. Ness Edwards That raises a difficulty. I hope the House will excuse these lengthy answers to supplementary questions. Only last week we had to stop a trainload of voluntary workers coming to work in the mines of this country because we had not the accommodation, which makes the position still worse. No matter what co-operation we may have from the employers and trade unions, our great problem will be accommodation.
- Mr. Driberg Does my right hon. Friend realise that the reference to accommodation was only included in the Question because last week his right hon. Friend, answering a Question on this subject, did say that accommodation would have to be found for these men; and, although obviously it is impossible to prevent British subjects who choose to pay their own way from moving from one part of the British Empire to another, does the Parliamentary Secretary not recognise that a very serious problem does arise here, and will he do his utmost, in conjunction with the Colonial Office Welfare Department, for these men?
- Mr. Ness Edwards We are prepared to do all we possibly can, but I should make it quite clear that we can do no more for these men than we do for our own men in this matter. We will do no more and no less. That is the position.
- Mr. Gammans15 As these people are British subjects, will not the Parliamentary Secretary arrange to have this ship met, and some arrangement made other than just decanting them into London; and can he assure the House that there is no colour prejudice in any of the trade unions for the trades in which these people might seek employment?
- Mr. Ness Edwards I can assure the House that there is no colour prejudice at all with regard to their employment. The great difficulty is in getting these people into private billets. If our people will not take them, we are up against a real difficulty.
- Mr. Gammans Will not the right hon. Gentleman answer the question?
On the following day questioning was resumed16:
- Mr. Driberg asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will inquire into the circumstances in which some 400 unemployed West Indians have sailed for this country in search of work; what provision he is making for the welfare of these men on their arrival here; and if he will issue a warning in the West Indies that, although some industries in Britain are undermanned, it is not easy for large numbers of unskilled or skilled immigrants to find suitable work here at once, and also initiate more vigorous efforts to deal with the considerable unemployment in the West Indies, especially among ex-Service men in Jamaica.
- Mr. Creech Jones17 The West Indians in question booked their passages privately. I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour and National Service, with regard to their welfare and employment on arrival. All of them were warned about the employment position before they sailed, and the situation in regard to employment in Britain has been made fully known to the people of the West Indies. It would appear, however, that the men concerned are prepared to take their chances of finding employment. The West Indian Governments are fully aware of the need to do everything possible to relieve the unemployment position.
- Mr. Driberg May I ask my right hon. Friend two questions? First, has he arranged suitable accommodation, in hostels or otherwise, for these men, pending their employment, so that they will not merely drift down into the underworld; and, secondly, is he aware that the West Indian Governments have not done anything like enough—despite their awareness of the situation—to cope with the resettlement and employment of ex-Service men?
- Mr. Creech Jones I cannot accept the last part of the supplementary question and it would take far too long to explain the steps that have been taken by the West Indian Governments. As to the first part of the supplementary, this question of accommodating is very difficult and we are doing everything in our power to receive these men and find a place in which they can lodge.
- Mr. Stanley18 Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the experience during the war was that unless these West Indian workers were carefully vetted before coming over here and their capabilities ascertained the experiment would be a complete failure, and will he make certain that if this is going to continue some organisation will be set up for the West Indians to ascertain beforehand if they are likely to be suitable for employment over here?
- Mr. Creech Jones We recognise the need for some vetting, but obviously we cannot interfere with the movement of British subjects. It is very unlikely that a similar event to this will occur again in the West Indies. We are very mindful of the point made by the right hon. Gentleman.
In the Lords, the Leader of the House Viscount Addison19 said
“I should like to impress upon your Lordships that, notwithstanding our large population in this country, we still seem to need labour at the present time in order to get the production required to feed ourselves (but) we cannot move people in any large numbers unless there are arrangements at the other end for their reception. … it is no good dumping people in numbers in any part of the Commonwealth unless there is somewhere for them to go and sleep when they get there.” (40)
The ship was far from full. (30) During May 1948, the British minister of transport, Harry Louis Nathan, gave the ship’s operators the authority to increase profits by filling her to capacity with black Jamaican settlers on the return trip to Britain before the commencement of the next assignment to ferry British troops around. (32) This momentous decision was taken arbitrarily without thought as to consequences and caused great shock to British politicians when it came to light. (32) Nathan had formerly been a member of the Jewish law firm of Oppenheimer, Nathan and Vandyk. (32) Around three weeks before the Empire Windrush arrived in Jamaica, Blacks were bombarded with ads for cheap travel to Britain and articles extolling the new life they could have in London. (33) An opportunistic (30) advertisement was put in (20,22) The Gleaner, (33) a Jamaican newspaper, (20,22) by the shipping company, (44) offering cheap transport on the ship for anybody who wanted (22,30) to come and work in the UK, (20,22) to assist with post-war reconstruction. (20)
It added to the worries of Mr. Isaacs, the Employment Minister, and trade union leaders. (44) The more worldly-wise among them are conscious of the deeper problem posed. (44) Britain had welcomed displaced persons and given employment to Poles who cannot go home. (44) “This is right,” said one of the immigrants. (44) “Surely then, there is nothing against our coming, for we are British subjects. (44) If there is – is it because we are coloured?” (44) The Colonial Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of Labour were busily engaged in trying to dodge responsibility for the newcomers, whose imminent arrival they viewed with alarm. (also 27) In a speech on May 11th , in the House of Lords20, the Lord Chancellor expressed a difficult problem, first by saying “We must distinguish our citizens from the citizens of other member States”, and then, in the same speech, asking “is it right that we should differentiate between our own people and the people for whom we are trustees?” and answering his own question by saying “We think it is not right”. (40) The BBC reported that there might not be readily available jobs for all the newcomers. (31)
There was, also, however a view that the Windrush’s cargo might be accommodated: (40) In the debate on 26th May the Labour Peer Lord Tweedsmuir21 said:
“The United Kingdom has a vast capacity for absorbing large quantities of foreign blood into her midst without the national characteristics of the people being materially altered in any way. We are overcrowded in this country in the sense of accommodation in many ways—in our schools and in many other aspects in our national life. But, due to the shortages and restrictions which now afflict us, I think we probably all have a much greater feeling of overcrowding than actually exists. we in this country are the great assimilating nation. We took the French Hugenots22 in early in the Eighteenth Century, when they were fleeing from persecution in their own country, in a ratio of one to seventy of our own population. We assimilated those people, and, so far from being impoverished from their coming, we have been vastly enriched. There is also this trend of circulation, which I think is one of the strongest influences in the Commonwealth. Not only are people going from his country, and many more people wishing to go, but also many are coming to it from outside; and there is now for the first time some movement between the Commonwealth countries themselves23. Since this war ended no less than 10,000 Canadians have come to make their homes in Britain. there are only three attitudes the Government can adopt. One is actively to discourage immigration; one is to tolerate it passively, and one is actively to encourage it. We hope to hear from the noble Viscount that the last of those three is the object of His Majesty’s Government now. (40)
Men saw the advertisement in their local papers (20,22) a thousand berths on the troop-decks were vacant. (44) Tickets were expensive, and Sam King’s family sold three cows to buy his ticket which cost £28.10s (27) OR £28 (44) in the old money (upward of £600 today). (27) Stephen Pollard writes that “the response was almost instantaneous. (33) Queues formed outside the booking agency and every place was sold.” (33) Even so, demand for tickets far exceeded the supply and there was a long queue to obtain one. (30,33) People found the money, and in due time embarked with high hopes. (44) They included folk poets, a builder, a carpenter, an apprentice accountant, a farm worker, a tailor, a welder, a spray-painter, a boxer, a musician, [OR] a complete dance-band; a mechanic, a valet, a calypso singer, and a law student. (44)
Mrs. Doreen Zayne, formerly, and soon to be once more, of Blackpool, confessed that she did not care for Jamaica and was glad to be home again. (44) In most cases they had come because of lack of work. (44) They spoke independently, but unanimously, of a blight that has come upon the West Indies since those who served America and Britain during the war returned home. (44) The cost of living was high, wages were low. (44) Many can earn no wages. (44) Some had been unemployed for two years. (44) One of them considered his chances in Britain (he is a builder), and said laconically, “If I survive – so good; if I don’t survive – so good. ” (44) Another, lacking this philosophy, said with a bitterness unusual in the company, “When the situation is desperate you take a chance – you don’t wait until you die.” (44)
Many of the ads were propaganda pieces that presented an idealized picture of life and job opportunities in Britain — in stark contrast to the bleak reality. (33) They were successful in generating a buzz of excitement among Blacks keen to make the move to the new welfare state. (33) They were told that they would be fed and housed upon arrival. (32) There were hopeful (27) settlers who wanted to start a new life in the United Kingdom. (21,27) [OR] very few intended to stay in Britain for more than a few years. (22,26) [OR] The British Nationality Act was going through parliament, and some Caribbean migrants decided to embark “ahead of the game”. (30) One explained his move to Britain: “Well, I left Jamaica because I saw the advertisements in The Gleaner … I left to better my position. (33) That was the chief reason.” (33) More adventurous spirits, mostly young men, who had heard about the voyage (26) and simply fancied coming to see England, ‘the mother country’, (26,30) came ‘to see what it was like’. (30) These doubled the numbers. (26) Many were “serious-minded persons” anxious to succeed. (44) And the boxer, who is going to meet his manager at Birkenhead, will surely find fights in plenty. (44) Most of the married men left their wives and children at home, hoping to send for them later. (44) Only five complete families sailed. (44) Two of the wives were Englishwomen who followed their husbands to Jamaica and now return with them to England. (44) Many who had served in the RAF decided to make the trip (22,26) with the hopes of finding better employment including in some cases (30) rejoining the RAF. (22,26) One of them was the first black (30) Mayor of Southwark, Sam (27,30) Beaver (30) King, (27,30) who had served in England with the wartime RAF, (27) and went on to help found the Notting Hill Carnival and who became Mayor of Southwark. (30) There were calypso musicians Lord Kitchener and Lord Beginner (22,30) Lord Woodbine and Mona Baptiste. (30) alongside 60 (22) [OR] 66 (30) Polish women displaced during the Second World War. (22,30) Their last country of residence had been Mexico, where they had been living since 1943, and they had travelled from Siberia via India and the Pacific, and been granted permission to settle in the United Kingdom under the terms of the Polish Resettlement Act 1947. (30) The Empire Windrush had called at Tampico, Mexico, in order to pick them up. (30) Not all the passengers intended to settle in Britain; a 40-year-old tailor hoped to stay for a year, and then go on and make his home in Liberia. (44) There was no evidence of “organisation.” (44)
One of the stowaways was Evelyn Wauchope, a 39-year-old dressmaker. (30) She was discovered seven days out of Kingston. (30) A whip-round was organised on board ship, raising £50 – enough for the fare and £4 pocket money for her. (30) Nancy Cunard, heiress to the Cunard shipping fortune, who was on her way back from Trinidad, “took a fancy to her” and “intended looking after her”. (30) As the ship drew towards England there was apprehension on board that the authorities would turn it back. (27) Sam King got two ex-RAF wireless operators among the passengers to play dominoes innocently outside the ship’s radio room and eavesdrop on incoming signals. (27) They heard on the BBC that Arthur Creech Jones, Colonial Secretary in the Labour government of the time, had pointed out that: ‘These people have British passports and they must be allowed to land.’ (27) He added that ‘they would not last one winter in England anyway, so there was nothing to worry about’. (27) If any had thought, with their quaint amalgam of American optimism and African innocence, they had already been partially disillusioned by Flight Lieutenant J.H. Smythe, a native of Sierra Leone and now a member of the Colonial Office Welfare Department. He travelled with them from the West Indies and towards the end had given them a little homily. “I could not honestly paint you,” he said to them, “a very rosy picture of your future in Britain.” He told them that conditions were not so favourable as they thought. They would see the scars of war wounds that are still bleeding. Were they highly skilled? No – then it would not be easy to find a job. (44) “On the other hand,” he went on, “if you are a serious-minded person and prepared to work hard in any vocation, you can make your way. It is left to you to win the respect of all those you come across and do your utmost to succeed in whatever sphere you may be placed.” (44) The ship’s were made aware of the increased discrimination they’d face. (45) As the Empire Windrush slid upstream with the flood between the closing shores of Kent and Essex, standing by the rail this morning, high above the landing-stage at Tilbury, one of them looked over the unlovely town to the grey-green fields beyond and said, “If this is England, I like it.” (44)
The SS (20) [OR] MV (19) Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury docks on 22nd June 1948. (19,20) It was a misty morning. (27) In the grey light of early morning you could see against the white walls of the ship row upon row of dark, pensive faces looking down upon England, most of them for the first time. (44) A commonly given figure for the number of West Indian immigrants on board is 492, (19,27) The ship carried 417 black (32) [OR] 492 (19,27) [OR] 493 (21,45) [OR] some 500 (27) [OR] 1,027 (30) passengers (19,20) including one (21) [OR] 18 (31) [OR] several (27,31) stowaways (21,27) from the Caribbean, (19,20) in the form of workers, many of them children, (19) from Jamaica, (19,21) Trinidad and Tobago and other islands. (19) The figure of 492 is based on news reports in the media at the time, which variously announced that “more than 400”, “430” or “500” Jamaican men had arrived in Britain. (30) However, the ship’s records, kept in the United Kingdom National Archives, indicate conclusively that 802 passengers gave their last place of residence as a country in the Caribbean. (30) Of the other passengers, 119 were from England and 40 from other parts of the world. (30) They began disembarking the next day. (30) This marked the start of the large-scale, organized, non-white immigration into Northwestern Europe. (32) Thus, it can be viewed as the reverse of the arrival of the Mayflower on North American shores, in that instead of the English starting the displacing, it was the start of the English being displaced. (32) There was no band, certainly, to greet the immigrants at Tilbury, but it was a welcome, and, for officialdom, a warm welcome. (44) The men seemed encouraged by it. (44)
The newspapers were already keenly interested in the voyage of what they embarrassingly called ‘the sons of empire’, (27) and the disembarkation of Empire Windrush’s passengers was a notable news event. (30) It was covered by newspaper reporters and by Pathé News newsreel cameras. (30) Some newspaper headlines were favourable, such as “Welcome Home” (Evening Standard), “Five hundred pairs of willing hands” (Daily Worker). (31) A very different narrative emerged in the aftermath of the ship’s arrival. (33) Pollard writes that “in the years since the arrival of the Empire Windrush … a myth has taken hold that the British government was responsible for bringing the passengers over as part of a concerted plan to help overcome a labour shortage. (33) …But this is wrong. (33) There was plenty of work, (26) but no industry was seriously undermanned. (32) [OR] In the House of Commons Mr. Ness Edwards said: “There is constant consultation with both sides of industry on the means to achieve such redistribution of labour as is necessary to man up the undermanned essential industries. (35) As an example, individual employers are being seen in the textile areas for the purpose of transferring suitable workers to cotton production. (35) It is clear from the reaction of ministers that they were as surprised as the public when they first learned, via a telegram from the Acting Governor of Jamaica on May 11, what was about to happen.” (33) Several politicians and senior civil servants expressed misgivings over the landing of the Empire Windrush with her unwanted “newcomers,” the elites’ politically correct term of choice. (32) The BBC’s home service mentioned (31) hostile questions asked in the House by Members of Parliament. (22,30) The Guardian asserts that Mr. Isaacs (Minister of Labour, MP for Southwark North) said in the House recently, “I consider that those who organised the movement of these people to this country did them a disservice in not letting us know.” (44) I can find no record in Hansard of such a speech.
For example: Mr. Osborne asked the Minister of Labour ‘if he will suspend the policy of encouraging overseas workers to come to this country now that we have thousands of our own people unemployed, and in view of the danger of increased unemployment’. (36) To which Mr. Ness Edwards replied: ‘No, Sir. Additional suitable workers from overseas are still required in a number of industries. I cannot accept the implication that unemployment is increasing. It is lower than at any time since last year.’ (36) Mr. Osborne then asked ‘Is the Minister satisfied that the trade union leaders have no objection to these men being brought over in view of the likelihood of increased unemployment as envisaged by the Minister of Health? (36) Ness Edwards replied: ‘In the industries for which we are recruiting foreign workers, we have the complete agreement and co-operation of the trade unions concerned’. (36)
On 23rd June the following exchanges took place: (37)
Mr. Driberg asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies24 what accommodation he has been able to arrange for the 400 unemployed West Indians who were due to arrive at Southampton on 22nd June.
Mr. Creech Jones:
Considerable efforts were made by a number of Government Departments to provide adequate and suitable accommodation for the men arriving. Some 240 of them were given assistance to travel to places to which they wished to go, having made their own arrangements. Of the rest, about 25 men who have volunteered for the Army and Air Force have been accommodated at the Colonial Office Servicemen’s Club at 77, Wimpole Street; and the remainder, approximately 200 men, have been put up and are being looked after for the time being at the War Department’s deep shelter at Clapham South, pending dispersal to employment.
Would my right hon. Friend convey to his Welfare Department, and particularly to the officer who was on board the ship, some appreciation of the very sensible and imaginative way in which they have handled this problem?
Mr. Creech Jones
Yes, Sir. They have done a very good job.
Mr. John Lewis (Lab, Bolton)
In view of the fact that the Colonial Office Welfare Club in Wimpole Street is shortly to close down—according to information received by the people running the club from the Minister’s Welfare Department—will the Minister say what steps are being taken to find alternative accommodation for these people?
Mr. Creech Jones
We have reached a decision with the owners of the property that we can occupy it for a period longer.
While the people of South London will make these men in the underground shelter as welcome as possible whilst they are there, will the Minister nevertheless make very early efforts to get them fixed up in more suitable accommodation?
Mr. Creech Jones
Two days after the ship docked, on 24th June, Mr. Tom Driberg asked the Minister of Labour25 if he had now been able to ascertain how many of the 400 unemployed West Indians, who were due to arrive at Southampton on 22nd June, were skilled workers, and in what trades; how many had indicated readiness to volunteer for the Forces or for training in undermanned industries; and how soon he expects that they will all have found suitable work.
Ness Edwards, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour replied:
“About 240 of these men did not wish to stay in London and were assisted on their way to their destinations. Twenty-five wished to join the Forces; 185 registered yesterday for employment; 73 of these are men claiming varying degrees of skill. Of the remainder, 19 have so far volunteered for coalmining, and 14 for agriculture. It is too early to forecast when the last of them will have found work.” (40)
Mr. Driberg asked the Minister to give an assurance that the arrangements made for the employment, accommodation, and welfare of British subjects from the Empire overseas are in every respect as good as those made for European voluntary workers. The Minister replied:
European volunteer workers come to this country under an organised scheme designed to provide additional workers for the undermanned industries. The arrangements for their reception, employment, accommodation and welfare have necessarily to be organised in advance, and in considerable detail. The comparison made by my hon. Friend with individual British subjects who come here on their own initiative to seek employment is not, therefore, appropriate.
While, perhaps, it is not appropriate to compare these two classes of workers, is there not some comparison between British subjects emigrating to other parts of the Commonwealth, and for whom the Commonwealth would make better arrangements than we seem to be making for those who come here?
Mr. Ness Edwards
I was asked to draw a comparison between those who come on their own initiative and those who come in organised parties. It will be appreciated that those who come in organised parties have an entirely different standard of treatment from those who come individually.
In order to ventilate further this rather important matter, with its possible further ramifications—since it is reported that 2,000 more West Indians are now on the point of sailing to this country—I propose, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, and subject to the convenience of my right hon. Friend, to raise it on the Adjournment tonight, instead of the subject of which I had previously given notice.
On 1st July27 Mr. Janner asked the Minister of Labour28 what progress had been made in finding employment for the West Indians who arrived from the “Empire Windrush”; and whether there had been any difficulty in finding housing accommodation for them near their work. (40)
Mr. Isaacs replied:
Of the 223 West Indians who landed from the “Empire Windrush” and who were accommodated at Clapham, 148 have been placed in employment. Eleven are under submission and 49 await placing. There have been no difficulties in finding accommodation other than those normally encountered owing to the housing shortage.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the West Indians concerned, and those hon. Members who have been to the Clapham deep shelter to see them, have been greatly impressed by the patience and hard work of his official, who has worked and lived down that deep shelter day and night for a whole week on end?
In view of the rather unfair comments that were made about the attitude of the Ministry in certain quarters, I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he has said.
On 6th July29 Air-Commodore Harvey (Conservative MP for Macclesfield) asked Mr George Isaacs, the Minister of Labour, how many of the West Indians who recently arrived in this country from Jamaica had been found employment in industry and in the Fighting Services. He replied
Of the 242 who have been accommodated at Clapham, 17 left of their own accord and 173 have been placed. There remain 52, most of whom came later than the main body; 32 of these are under submission for employment. Five of those who went to the Servicemen’s club at Wimpole Street have been accepted by the Fighting Services.
Commons debating Nationality Bill 7th July30
A citizen of one of our Colonies will be in this country in a more favoured position than a citizen of the Dominions. It would ill-become me, with my late connection with the Colonies, to complain, but I think that it is certainly anomalous that one of the West Indians referred to by another of my hon. Friends should be in a more favourable position in this country than someone who comes here from Australia or New Zealand. (40)
Chuter Ede31 (Home secretary, and Labour MP for S. Shields)
I know there are also some who feel that it is wrong to have a citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Some people feel that it would be a bad thing to give the coloured races of the Empire the idea that, in some way or other, they are the equals of people in this country. The Government do not subscribe to that view. [An HON. MEMBER: “Who does?”] I gather now that the noble Lord has parted company from some other people. … We believe wholeheartedly that the common citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies is an essential part of the development of the relationship between this Mother Country and the Colonies who are administered in varying degrees of self government and tutelage by the Colonial Office, and we do not subscribe to the doctrine satirised in the “Biglow Papers”: If we say’n our pletform thet all men are brothers, We don’t mean thet some folks ain’t more so’n some others; We believe and we hope it will be understood that citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies means that when we talk for example of the development of the Colonies, etc., we recognise the right of the colonial peoples to be regarded as men and brothers with the people of this country. … In the lifetime of this Parliament we have seen the creation of the Dominions of India, Pakistan and Ceylon. They, after all, represent the adhesion to the British Commonwealth of Nations of great historic nationalities who are not British in their descent, but of whom this country may well be proud, in that it has trained them so that they are able to participate in this great self-governing group of nations. … I would say one last word on this question of a citizen of the Colonies being linked with the United Kingdom. I recollect as a lad being told by my mother of the arbitration on the Venezuelan dispute, and of the fact that the final and clinching evidence that the boundary was where the British Government said it was, was the evidence of certain very primitive people, who said that their fathers had told them that if they swam a certain river they were free from the slave hunters, because they were on British soil. It is true that we cannot admit all these backward peoples immediately into the full rights that British subjects in this country enjoy; but wherever the British Dominions are, what Lowell called, “the homespun dignity of man,” is at least recognised to the extent of the denial of the right of anyone to have a chattel slave. By linking the United Kingdom and the Colonies, we must give these people a feeling that on that homespun dignity of man we recognise them as fellow-citizens and that our object, as far as they are concerned, is to hope to raise them to such a position of education, of training and of experience that they too shall be able to share in the grant of full self-government which this House has so generously given during the last few years to other places. It is in the full faith that the future development of this great bulwark of democratic civilisation will be helped and strengthened by the Measure that we commend it to the House.
David Maxwell-Fyfe: (MP for West Derby)
“… this secret manner of considering a subject of the greatest importance to the whole Commonwealth and its individual citizens emphasises how much has been lost by the lapse of the Imperial Conferences. … we had much to offer the people of the Dominions, and more to people of the racially distinct and smaller countries of the Commonwealth, because, and I think the right hon. Gentleman and I are at one on this, we were proud in this country that we imposed no colour bar restrictions, making it difficult for them when they came here. A citizen of one of our Colonies will be in this country in a more favoured position than a citizen of the Dominions. It would ill-become me, with my late connection with the Colonies, to complain, but I think that it is certainly anomalous that one of the West Indians referred to by another of my hon. Friends should be in a more favourable position in this country than someone who comes here from Australia or New Zealand.”
Viscount Hinchingbrooke32 (Dorset, South)
“… I am not at all happy about the way civil servants increasingly direct the course of our affairs. Working in secret, these mute, inglorious persons are becoming masters of our society.”
On 8th July the Commons33 debated Colonial Affairs. Mr Creech Jones the Minister for the Colonies, said:
I wish now to say a few words about certain geographical areas of the Empire because recently those areas have attracted a great deal of attention. First I would refer to the West Indies. The arrival the other day of some hundreds of men, some from Jamaica, some from Trinidad, attracted considerable public attention as to the conditions operating in the territories from which those men came. The story of the economic difficulties of the West Indies is one with which this House is familiar. Over a long period Commission after Commission has gone to the West Indies to examine and to investigate the problems with a view to making sound recommendations for the social and economic development of those islands. But it must be confessed that, in spite of the recommendations which have been made and the actions of the Government which have followed on those recommendations, many of the human problems of the West Indies still remain. The difficulties associated with disease, squalor, unemployment and poverty are there. We must reckon, of course, with the fact that agriculture remains the basis of the economy of the West Indies. There is oil in Trinidad and bauxite and possibly other minerals in British Guiana, but broadly speaking the whole economic structure of the majority of the territories in the West Indies must be built up on agriculture. A great deal has been done in the past two years to expand and to improve the quality of production, to find new markets and to secure, by fair contracts, reasonable prices for the products which are grown there. As is well known, in the case of Jamaica there has been the disease of bananas which has occasioned considerable distress and considerably reduced the production of that fruit in Jamaica. An economic adviser to the Government has been at work now over a period of some years. There has been a series of conferences on trade and agricultural development, but I confess that, as yet, our fundamental economic problems remain unsolved. The problem is complicated by the fact that there is an increasing population for which there is no satisfactory outlet outside the West Indies themselves. Several outlets formerly available are now closed to West Indian labour, and it is sometimes difficult to come to arrangements with the United States in regard to the use of some of that surplus labour. Consequently, we have a festering problem of unemployment and under-employment in many of the West Indian Islands. We have also tried to foster a number of new small industries. We have met with a great deal of difficulty because of shortages of the necessary raw materials, but the problem of founding new industries is one which is receiving our active consideration as well as that of the local governments themselves. The Caribbean Commission has conducted an economic survey of the whole of the islands, not only the British, but all the islands and the whole of the Caribbean territories, and we hope to have before us in the next few months a considered view on the possibilities of industrial development as well as other forms of economic development.
Mr W Brown, MP34, asked how many unemployed there were in Jamaica.
Mr Gammans35, MP for Hornsey, said that he thought the primary reason for unemployment in the West Indies was overpopulation. He asked how often the Colonial Development Council, had met and whether it published reports:
“I would have liked to ask why it is that so many of the members with actual knowledge and experience of economic and financial problems appear to have left it. I notice that, apart from the technical and official members, almost all the rest of the Council are people with Left Wing views and members of the Fabian Society. There is not a single Member of the opposite political party on the Council. Surely it is not necessary to take this principle of “jobs for the boys,” and in this case “for the girls” as well—and unpaid jobs, too—quite so far.”
He then referred to the accommodation being provided for the Windrush people:
There are many well-disposed people who would willingly welcome overseas students into their homes if only the means of introducing them to each other could be devised. Let the right hon. Gentleman be under no illusion—if the Colonial Office will not look after these students then the Communist Party will. I was interested to read in the “Daily Worker” a short time ago that so many of the West Indians who had come over on the “Empire Windrush” were already happily placed in Communist homes. To my mind, the primary reason for unemployment in the West Indies is overpopulation. When we consider that, in Barbadoes, we have an island only the size of the Isle of Wight but with twice the number of people, we have an indication of the importance of the population problem. I should have liked to hear more about the Colonial Development Council, how often it has met and whether it publishes reports. Why is it that so many of the members with actual knowledge and experience of economic and financial problems appear to have left it. I notice that, apart from the technical and official members, almost all the rest of the Council are people with Left Wing views and members of the Fabian Society. There is not a single Member of the Conservative party on the Council. Surely it is not necessary to take this principle of “jobs for the boys,” and in this case “for the girls” as well—and unpaid jobs, too—quite so far.
Mr Stewart36 (Fulham East)
According to my latest information white women and children (in the West Indies) are in terror of their lives. I have a letter from one woman, the wife of an estate manager, who writes that for ten weeks she has been unable to leave her house because of the danger of attack from the lawless element in the country. … I beg the right hon. Gentleman to watch what is happening. We have seen what happened in Malaya. Strong action has been taken there and I warn the right hon. Gentleman that unless strong action is taken to the same extent in British Guiana we are in for serious trouble. Apparently a commission of inquiry was set up by the local Governor, but that was three weeks ago and this is a matter of urgency. Why has the Commission not reported? The Government surely ought to know the result of that inquiry when so much hangs upon it I want to insist upon the seriousness of this matter. It is just another case and another example of the truth that is dawning on the whole country and on members of the whole Colonial Empire, that this Government is making a poor job of its responsibilities, because it is failing in its elementary duty of preserving peace and security for the peoples of the Colonies. The only thing I can hope for is that an early opportunity may be given to the British people to change this Government. … I am making no party political capital out of the West Indian problem. It is a problem which has faced all Governments in turn. A great deal has been done and a great deal of money has been spent. The problem is, of course, the increase in population in the West Indies which always outstrips the increased aid given. If the conditions of 1948 were dealing with the population of 1938, the position in the West Indies today would not look too bad. The trouble is that, by the time we reach the conditions of 1948, the population has gone right ahead of the assistance we are supplying.
Strict food rationing remained in place after the war (in fact, rationing in Britain was worse after than during the war); the feeling of a need for control over every citizen, necessary in wartime, had not yet fully dissolved. (32) Into this tense atmosphere of apprehension, discomfort and shortages came the strange strangers. (32) We’ll never know for sure how the brave Windrush arrivals would have got on if there had not been other non-Europeans before them. (45) They were faced with discrimination and racism because of the colour of their skin. (21) [OR] received a warm reception from local churches and the mayor of Lambeth. (31) and were accommodated in the Clapham deep-level shelters. (45) Hardy, a West Indian who had lived in Britain since the 1930s, said that although he was satisfied all was being done for the Windrush passengers ‘by Colonial Welfare’, he had heard widespread regret about their arrival within Britain. (31) The locals’ unease was at first disregarded, and then shunted aside as an act of Parliament provided for a hearty welcome for the intruders. (32) The 18 (31) stowaways on board were sentenced (30,31) to brief prison sentences (30) or fined accordingly. (31) They were eligible to remain in the United Kingdom on their release. (30) The myth of the labour shortage was a helpful one because it acknowledged the un-democratic nature of the event while deflecting blame away from the most obvious source of the scourge — the Jews of the shipping industry and the Ministry of Transport. (33)
Some of the passengers had organised some sort of job and accommodation for themselves beforehand, (27,30) but about 200 were without exact plans and had neither friends nor relatives in Britain. (31) The Colonial Office, having failed to shuffle off the responsibility, reluctantly opened (27) the deep air-raid shelter (22,27) under Clapham Common (27) in south-west London. (30) It was known as Clapham South, (22,30) and about 230 of (27) the new arrivals moved into it. (22,27) on a temporary basis. (22) It was described as luxury compared with passengers on the earlier boats. (45)
The shelter was less than a mile away from (22,30) the Coldharbour Lane Employment Exchange in Brixton, (22,27) where some of the arrivals sought work. (22,30) Prototype job centres became community hubs. (45) The future mayor of Southwark, Sam King, recalls being offered five jobs almost straight away at the Tooting Labour Exchange. (45) The proximity of the Clapham Shelter to the Brixton Exchange made Brixton the first of London’s new West Indian ghettoes. (27) A House of Commons session agreed that the Welfare Department had done a “very good job” of accommodating the arrivals.37 (31) In the week of the ship’s arrival the Jamaican journalist, W A S Hardy reported “on the latest arrivals of West Indians who have come to try their luck in Britain”. (31) The overall mood of the new arrivals, he said, is “one of disappointment”. (31) But elsewhere, BBC programmes embraced the Windrush passengers more wholeheartedly to resource upbeat variety-style entertainment programmes. (31) “West Indian Rendezvous” brought Mona Baptiste to the microphone on several occasions that summer. (31) She was billed as one of the singing stars to recently arrive from Trinidad on the Windrush. (31) Baptiste had modestly declared her occupation as “clerk” on the Windrush passenger list. (31) But as the BBC broadcast noted, she was also a “well-known Blues singer” and went on to record hit songs and films in both London and Germany. (31) Other guests on the programme that summer included the calypso singer, Lord Beginner, who travelled on the Windrush with Lord Kitchener (of “London is the Place for Me” fame). (31) Beginner delivered a calypso called “Hello to the Folks Back Home”, specially written for the BBC, which captured his journey with the characteristic exuberance of the calypsonian. (31) Windrush guest appearances had become so frequent by the end of July 1948 that the programme’s compere could declare they had nearly got through the whole passenger list. (31)
These were the first large group of West Indian immigrants to the UK after the Second World War. (21) Those born in the West Indies who settled in the UK in this migration movement over the following years are now typically referred to as the “Windrush Generation”. (30) It was an important landmark in the history of modern Britain. (26) The name Windrush as a result come to be used as shorthand for West Indian migration, and by extension for the beginning of modern British multiracial society. (30) The image of the Caribbeans filing off its gangplank has come to symbolise many of the changes which have taken place here. (26) Although a number did return (30) the majority remained to settle permanently. (22,30) In 1948, Britain was just beginning to recover from the ravages of war. (26) Their arrival was a great burden on the government. (31) The Caribbeans clashed with the natives over the issue of accommodation. (26,31) There was still a housing shortage since large parts of London were heavily bombed during World War II; (32) so housing was a huge problem and stayed that way for the next two decades. (26,29) The following exchange in Parliament in on 8th July38 confirms that there was prejudice against them in the mining industry, and that the Labour government was embarrassed by it:
Mr. Cooper39 asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if, in view of the recent incidents of coloured men from the Colonies being turned down in their application for recruitment to the coalmining industry, he will exercise his powers of direction to the National Coal Board to get this policy altered, thus enabling volunteers from the Colonies to be trained as miners.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Mr. Robens)
No, Sir. I am informed by the National Coal Board that they raise no objection on racial grounds to the employment of individuals suitable and willing to take underground work.
Mr. Cooper (Lab, Middlesbrough) exposed the fault line between middle class socialists and their trade union allies by asking:
Is my hon. Friend aware that although that may be the policy, it is not, in fact, being carried out in practice, and would he look into incidents which have recently been reported to see if, in fact, practical expression cannot be given to the theory that these men are on an equal citizenship basis with ourselves?
From the point of view of the National Coal Board there is no objection at all, but in some parts there is objection by the local mining community and we must take into consideration their views on this matter.
Mr. Emrys Roberts (Liberal)
Could the Parliamentary Secretary say how many coloured men have been accepted for employment and in what collieries?
Not without notice.
Mr. J. Lewis40 (Lab, Bolton)
If there is any objection made at any time to these men, is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that they are welcome in the cotton industry in Lancashire, where many of them are employed and where they are doing a good job?
Mr. Oliver Stanley (Con Westmorland)
When the Parliamentary Secretary says we must take into account the views of the mining community on this matter, surely he is not going to allow a view contrary to every feeling and expression of this House to persist without making some effort to break it down?
It is not a question of what the right hon. Gentleman says. The fact is that in relation to the employment of people underground there is an agreement that the local lodges of the National Union of Mineworkers will be consulted concerning E.V.W’s. and other people. There have been one or two objections for various reasons and we have to take into consideration all these factors, but it is not general throughout the whole coalfields. It is gradually being broken down and where we can use our influence we certainly do so.
Mr. Emrys Roberts (Lib, Merioneth)
Can the Parliamentary Secretary say on what grounds objection is taken to the employment of coloured people?
Mr. Sylvester (Lab, Normanton)
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that if he had been at Doncaster at the Yorkshire miners’ demonstration a fortnight ago he would have found a coloured man walking behind his local lodge banner, as he has done for a great many years?
But every pioneer who’d popped up in London had helped normalise the presence of West Indian faces here. (45) By August 1948, and against the backdrop of the Windrush story, Figueroa was telling West Indian listeners of an “unpleasant and unfortunate” colour bar emerging around housing which prevented West Indians from finding suitable accommodation. (31) Prospective Caribbean migrants in 1948 could be forgiven for being confused by the mixed messages that emerged across such broadcasts. (31)
Many more ships carrying dusky Caribbean settlers arrived after that first docking, (32) such as SS Orbita, laden with dusky immigrants and stinking of “vomit and urine”. (33) After catching fire during a voyage, Empire Windrush sank to a watery grave off the coast of Algeria in 1954. (33) Government contracts and the Jewish control of maritime activity played an instrumental role in the burgeoning commercial passenger industry that would bring waves of blacks, Pakistanis and Indians to Britain over the next two decades. (32) It cannot be ascertained whether the motivation for this transportation of people was initially purely profit-driven or was also part of a concerted campaign to inundate Britain with non-whites. (32) It would appear to be a combination of the two, with a progressive tilt over time toward the latter. (32) It’s not surprising that, in spite of the cautionary media narratives, so many threw caution to the wind and followed on other boats throughout the 1940s and 50s. (31) Nor is it surprising to discover that Britain’s contemporary culture of “hostility” towards immigrants has a much longer history, as old as the Windrush itself41. (31) They were excluded from much of the social and economic42 life around them. (26)
On September 21st Mr. Gammans43 asked the Minister of Labour how many of the Jamaicans who came to this country on the “Empire Windrush” were still registered as unemployed.
The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)
Of the 242 Jamaicans who were accommodated at Clapham, 23 left of their own accord and the remaining 219 were placed in employment.
Can the Minister say what is the policy of the Government regarding labour from the West Indies? Do they encourage it or discourage it?
With respect, I think that does not arise out of the Question, but I can tell the hon. Member that provided we are notified of the arrival of any of these people, we will do our very best to place them, as we did in this instance.
Mr. John Lewis (Lab, Bolton) referred to post Windrush immigration:
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the East End of London there are 300 to 400 coloured people unemployed?
Mr. Isaacs I was not aware of that.
On the same day Mr. Swingler (Lab, Stafford) asked44 the Minister of Labour the total number of unfilled vacancies registered at employment exchanges at the latest date for which figures were available.
477,893 at 4th August, 1948.
But alongside the conflicts and the discrimination, another process was taking place. (26) they began to adjust the institutions they brought with them – the churches, and a co-operative method of saving called the ‘pardner’ system. (26) At the same time, Caribbeans began to participate in institutions to which they did have access: trade unions, local councils, and professional and staff associations. (26) Caribbean migrants have become a vital part of British society and, in the process, transformed important aspects of British life. (26)
After the initial false narrative that the British government brought in the Third-Worlders to help overcome a labour shortage, the government, tongue in cheek, (32) quoted the British Nationality Act 1948 (30) in expounding the fantasy that Commonwealth subjects should be “freely admissible” to the United Kingdom to hold the crumbling empire together. (32) The British solicitor general, Frank Soskice, yet another Jew, proclaimed that the British government had no legal power in peacetime to prevent the landings in London of the Empire Windrush. (32) This was the origin of the BBC reporting Arthur Creech Jones, Colonial Secretary, pointing out that: ‘These people have British passports and they must be allowed to land.’ (27,33) Thus began the new initiative of “Destruction Through Diversity” whereby numerous other troopships disgorged dusky immigrants into Britain. (32) People now call the Windrush a new journey for them as they all went through the racism, but in the end, came out just as equal as everyone else. (21) Winston Churchill remarked during the next administration: “Problems will arise if many coloured people settle here. (32) Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in the UK? Public opinion won’t tolerate it once it gets beyond certain limits.” (32) Of course, by then it was too late. (32) Black immigration increased dramatically from 2,000 in 1948 to 42,000 in 1957. (32) A government report of December 1953 stated that the new population could not secure employment, not because of discrimination, but because the newcomers had “low output” and their working life was marred by “irresponsibility, quarrelsomeness, and lack of discipline.” (32) Black men were said to be “volatile in temperament … and lacking in stamina,” and black women were “slow mentally.” (32) Worse yet, “future social and criminal patterns were being established.” (32) In 1954 Home Secretary David Maxwell Fyfe issued a secret memorandum to the cabinet on blacks pimping White women, stating that: “Figures I have obtained from the Metropolitan police do show that the number of coloured men convicted for this offense is out of all proportion to the number of coloured men in London.” (33) Three months later he again wrote to the cabinet stressing that “large numbers of coloured people are living on national assistance or the immoral earnings of white women.” (33)
The famed Notting Hill Race Riots of 1958 were the culmination of white reaction against black crime and miscegenation— (32) [OR] the product of racial bigotry in older urban areas. (39) White youths intervened in an argument between a Swedish prostitute and her Black ‘husband’ Raymond Morrison. (33) A brawl broke out between the youths and Morrison’s friends. (33) The following day some of the White youths verbally assaulted the Swede for being a “Black man’s trollop.” (33) The White youths then assembled between three and four hundred fellows to begin a violent demonstration against Black criminality, resulting in six days and nights of almost uninterrupted inter-ethnic warfare. (33) This event represented a clear opportunity for Britain to turn back the tide, but the proliferation of Jewish lawyers stymied all efforts at effective white resistance. (32) By now Enoch Powell was a government minister. (25)
Enoch Powell was the son of schoolteachers of Welsh ancestry. (23) He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and became a professor of Greek at Australia’s University of Sydney at age 25. (23) During World War II he served in the British army, rising from private to brigadier. (23) In 1950 he won a seat in Parliament (23,25) as the Conservative (23) Member of Parliament (MP) for Wolverhampton South West. (25) his maiden speech was on a White Paper on Defence. (25) He rose through minor posts; (23,25) in 1955, he was made the parliamentary secretary to Duncan Sandys at the Ministry of Housing. (25) The next year he spoke for the Housing Subsidies Bill in the Commons and also in support of the Slum Clearance Bill. (25) He opposed the British attempts to regain the Suez canal in 1956. (29) He advocated immigration control at the subcommittee on immigration control. (25) He was offered the post of Financial Secretary to the Treasury in January 1957; this was the most important job outside the Cabinet. (25) He resigned in a year in January 1958 as a protest against government plans for increased expenditure. (25) He was minister of health (1960–63) and unsuccessfully challenged Edward Heath for the party’s leadership in 1965. (23) Legislation controlling immigration was passed in 1962. (22,30) Between 1962 and 1971, as a result of popular opposition to immigration by Commonwealth citizens from Asia and Africa, the United Kingdom gradually tightened controls on immigration by British subjects from other parts of the Commonwealth. (48) The Immigration Act 1971 introduced the concept of patriality, by which only British subjects with sufficiently strong links to the British Islands (i.e. the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) had right of abode, the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and Islands. (48) Most of the 1948 Act was replaced by the British Nationality Act 1981 with effect from 1 January 1983. (48) In 1965 Powell was made the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence. (25,29) He was suspicious of both European integration (29) [OR] looked to greater alliances with European nations rather than America. (also 29!) and Britain’s subservient relationship to the United States. (29) Giving his first speech holding this position, he outlined a fresh defence policy (25) [OR] foreign policy which cast aside outdated imperial obligations. (29) He defended Britain’s nuclear weapons. (25) [OR] he was critical of Britain’s nuclear policy. (29) To the chagrin of America, Powell wanted to remove Britain from east of Suez – i.e. have nothing to do with South East Asia – at a time when America was fighting the Vietnam war. (29) Powell later said his stance helped prevent the UK government sending a token British force to fight in Vietnam. (29) When asked about this he replied: ‘The greatest service I have performed for my country, if that is so.” (29)
On April 20th, (23,29) 1968 (23,25) in what came to be called his “Rivers of Blood” speech, Powell evoked the British race question. (23,25) warning of the consequences of unchecked immigration of non-whites (25,29) from the former Commonwealth (29) into Britain. (25,29) In particular, he was opposed to the 1968 Race Relations Act which prohibited discrimination on the grounds of race in areas of British life such as housing. (29) The nationality acts, he argued, were flooding London and Midlands ghettos with Indian, Pakistani, African, and West Indian immigrants, who could claim British citizenship because of their Commonwealth status. (23) In time the influx, he charged, would cause a bloody race war (23) like the conflicts in the United states. (39) He also called for voluntary repatriation of these immigrants. (23) The strongly rhetorical language was perceived as (29,39) racist, (25,29) inflammatory, (29,39) and ‘Cassandra-like’. (39) He was catapulted into the public limelight (205,29) and the speech generated considerable controversy; he was ejected from the shadow Cabinet (23,25) by Edward Heath (29) the day after the speech, (25,29) and he never again held a senior political post. (29) The speech (25,29) captured a nerve in popular public opinion about fears over the level of mass immigration into the UK. (29) made him a hero in the eyes of the public and he won huge support across Britain. (25,29) He was the most popular politician in the UK. (29) It was as if Powell had articulated a view many people shared but had not been expressed by an establishment figure. (29) It is widely accepted that Powell helped the Conservatives’ unexpected win in the 1970 General election. (29) Ever since, that day, there has been controversy over whether Powell was racist or not. (29) Powell always protested that he wasn’t a racialist. (29) He argued he was merely expressing the reality of the situation for his constituents. (29) He was certainly a conviction politician who spoke his mind. (29) His speech heightened racial tensions, though his grim forebodings proved largely misplaced (with exceptions such as Brixton riots in the early 1980s). (29) [OR] Within 50 years of the first docking of the Empire Windrush, the racial composition of England had changed entirely. (32) Following the black Caribbeans, the Punjabi Sikhs and Hindu Gujaratis came from the Indian subcontinent. (32) Next came the Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh. (32) Many big towns now have areas in which white people have become rare; talking about immigrants in those places as “minorities” sounds perverse. (32) More than one-third of inner London’s children do not have English as their first language. (32) Settlers now include Afghans, Africans, Arabs and others all the way through the alphabet and the Zulus. (32) London now doesn’t blink at multiculturalism. (45)
24 copy of 28 and 30? 30 has been extensively used by 24,27 and 28.
32 and 33 by the same author. No agreements allowed.
If the web is already beginning to look a little tangled, readers would do well to consider some of these developments and ‘coincidences’ within the context of the Anglo-Jewish Cousinhood, a topic I covered for TOO about three years ago. From the early 19th century until the First World War, English Jewry was ruled by a tightly connected oligarchy. Daniel Gutwein states that this Anglo-Jewish elite comprised some twenty inter-related Ashkenazi and Sephardic families including the houses of Goldsmith, Montagu, Nathan, Cohen, Isaacs, Abrahams, Samuel, and Montefiore. Some of these names have featured already, and will feature again in the Windrush story. At its head, of course, stood the House of Rothschild. This network of families had an “exceptionally high degree of consanguinity,” leading to it being termed “The Cousinhood.” Conversion and intermarriage in the group was exceptionally rare, if not non-existent. The business activities of the group overlapped to the same degree as their bloodlines. I illustrated this in my previous essay by pointing out that: In 1870, the treasurer of the London Jewish Board of Guardians was Viennese-born Ferdinand de Rothschild (1838–1898). Ferdinand had married his cousin Elvina, who was a niece of the President of the London United Synagogue, Sir Anthony de Rothschild (1810–1876). Meanwhile, the Board of Deputies was at that time headed by Moses Montefiore, whose wife, a daughter of Levi Barent Cohen, was related to Nathan Meyer Rothschild. Nathan Meyer Rothschild’s wife was also a daughter of Levi Barent Cohen, and thus Montefiore was uncle to the aforementioned Anthony de Rothschild. … Anthony was married to a niece of Montefiore, the daughter of Abraham Montefiore and Henrietta Rothschild …et cetera, et cetera. In financial terms, the houses of Rothschild and Montefiore had united in 1824 to form the Alliance Insurance Company, and most of the families were involved in each other’s stock-brokering and banking concerns. Endelmann notes that in these firms “new recruits were drawn exclusively from the ranks of the family. “ Working tightly within this ethnic and familial network, the Cousinhood amassed huge fortunes, and in the years before World War I, despite comprising less than three tenths of 1% of the population, Jews constituted over 20% of non-landed British millionaires. William Rubinstein notes that of these millionaires, all belonged to the Cousinhood. It was the Cousinhood that pioneered the way into direct political power for Jews in Britain. By 1900, through a process of ethnic and familial networking, the Cousinhood had secured many of the most significant administrative positions in the Empire. Feldman notes that the Nathan family alone had by that date secured the positions of Governor of the Gold Coast, Hong Kong and Natal, Attorney-General and Chief Justice in Trinidad, Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India, Officiating Chief Secretary to the Governor of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and Postmaster-General of Bengal. In Parliament, Lionel Abrahams was Permanent Assistant Under-Secretary at the India Office, working under his cousin Edwin Montagu who was then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for India. Together with the rapid development of a Jewish monopoly over key Imperial positions were countless cases of nepotistic corruption and profit-seeking. The Cousinhood was instrumental in disseminating false Russian pogrom narratives throughout the West, in fomenting the profit-driven Boer War, and in the Indian Silver and Marconi scandals. The Nathan and Isaacs families who owned and operated the New Zealand Shipping Company also comprised part of the Cousinhood, as was the case also with Harry Nathan who occupied the strategically valuable position of Ministry for Transport between 1946 and 1948. (33)
Italic from his book
Grew up in Wyoming on a farm. Military service in WW1. Then devoted himself to family estates in Hampshire. He was a member of and important influence on the English Mistery, a society promoted by William Sanderson and founded in 1929 or 1930. This was a conservative group, with views in tune with his own monarchist and ruralist opinions. A split in the Mystery left Wallop leading a successor, the English Array. It was active from 1936 to the early months of World War II, and advocated “back to the land”. Its membership included A. K. Chesterton, J. F. C. Fuller, Rolf Gardiner, Hon. Richard de Grey, Hardwicke Holderness, Anthony Ludovici, John de Rutzen, and Reginald Dorman-Smith. It has been described as “more specifically pro-Nazi” than the Mystery; Famine in England (1938) by Lymington was an agricultural manifesto, but traded on racial overtones of urban immigration. Lymington’s use of Parliamentary questions has been blamed for British government reluctance to admit refugees. He edited New Pioneer magazine from 1938 to 1940, collaborating with John Warburton Beckett and A. K. Chesterton. The gathering European war saw him found the British Council Against European Commitments in 1938, with William Joyce. He joined the British People’s Party in 1943. The English Array was not shut down, as other organisations of the right were in the war years, but was under official suspicion and saw little activity. The Kinship in Husbandry, which he also founded with Rolf Gardiner, was one of the precursors of the later Soil Association. It recruited Edmund Blunden, Arthur Bryant, H. J. Massingham, Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne, Adrian Bell and Philip Mairet. He emigrated to Kenya in 1948.
was a notable Conservative supporter of Labour’s British Nationality Act of 1948, which reaffirmed the rights of Commonwealth citizens to enter Britain without restriction, showing a commitment to the unity and indivisibility of the empire. Maxwell Fyfe was also a champion of European integration and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from August 1949 to May 1952, becoming the Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions, and rapporteur on the committee drafting the European Convention on Human Rights. In his memoirs he criticised Sir Anthony Eden for a negative stance that derailed the UK’s opportunity to become a leader in Europe. Eden always rejected this and considered a libel action against Maxwell Fyfe.
Emanuel Shinwell served in Clement Attlee’s Cabinet after the Labour victory in 1945 as Minister of Fuel and Power, and in 1946 he presided over the nationalisation of the mining industry. He also negotiated a miners’ charter with the NUM. He declared the middle class “not worth a tinker’s cuss”. His insistence on the open-cast mining of the park of the Wentworth Woodhouse estate, to the doorsteps of the house, when the quality of the coal was poor, was viewed by its owners and the local mining community, which opposed it, as pure vindictiveness – an act of class warfare. In 1947-8 he was Chairman of the Labour Party. In 1947, Britain experienced, in an exceptionally severe winter, a serious coal shortage. The supply system collapsed, leaving Britain to freeze and close down. Shinwell denied there were problems and refused to assume responsibility, blaming the climate, the railway system, or capitalism generally. Shinwell was widely criticised for his failure to avert this crisis. His earlier comment that “There will be no fuel crisis. I am Minister of Fuel and Power and I ought to know”, was later included in the official handbook for Conservative Party members to use in speeches and leaflets. In 1947 Shinwell presided over the nationalisation of electricity. In October 1947 he was sacked. He was bitterly resentful at being replaced by Hugh Gaitskell, his former deputy and a public schoolboy. (42)
Chuter Ede was born in Epsom, Surrey, the son of James Ede, a shopkeeper of Unitarian religious convictions, and his wife Agnes Mary (née Chuter). He was educated at Epsom National School, Dorking High School for Boys, Battersea Pupil Teachers’ Centre, and Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences. He then worked as a teacher, becoming an assistant master at a council elementary school in Mortlake (1905–1914). During the First World War he served in the East Surrey Regiment and Royal Engineers, reaching the rank of Acting Regimental Sergeant Major. After the war he was active within the National Union of Teachers. Initially a Liberal, he became a member in 1908 of Epsom Urban District Council and in 1914 of Surrey County Council. During World War I he moved to the Labour Party. … In 1938 Ede voted for a motion in favour of abolishing the death penalty for murder. He was Home Secretary in the 1945 Labour government of Clement Attlee, and concurrently Leader of the House of Commons in 1951. He was closely involved in the drafting of the Butler Education Act and the Criminal Justice Act 1948, and established the Lynskey tribunal under Sir George Lynskey in 1948 to investigate allegation of corruption among ministers and civil servants. In 1964 he left the Commons and was created a life peer as Baron Chuter-Ede, of Epsom in the County of Surrey. This did not result in any change in the law but, when he was Home Secretary, his own Criminal Justice Bill in 1948 was successfully amended by MPs who wished to abolish hanging. However, by this time Chuter Ede, in line with the policy of the Attlee Government, opposed the reform. For a while he agreed to commute every death sentence to life imprisonment, but the House of Lords then rejected the amendment, and the Criminal Justice Act 1948 did not abolish capital punishment. He permitted hangings to continue. In 1950 Timothy Evans was convicted of murdering his own daughter, and Ede approved his death sentence. In 1953, after John Christie had been convicted and hanged for a murder committed in the same house (and it was clear he had committed several others), Ede eventually concluded that he had made the wrong decision in regard to Evans. (43)
The Gleaner, is part of the Gleaner Company which to this day enjoys an effective monopoly of the Jamaican press. (33) The company has its origins in 1834, when it was founded by the Jewish brothers Jacob and Joshua De Cordova. (33) Since its founding it has been a kind of Jamaican micro-Cousinhood. (33) Even when it registered as a private company in 1897, its first directors possessed a mixture of Ashkenazi and Sephardi names, from Ashenheim to de Mercado. (33) At the time the Empire Windrush ads appeared, the managing director was Michael de Cordova. (33) The Empire Windrush, which had been passed into Jewish ownership by a Jewish Secretary for War, was given the green light to boost profits and start bringing non-Whites to Britain by a Jewish Minister for Transport, and provided with armies of eager passengers by a Jewish-owned media. (33) It’s an interesting fact that, with the relevant contracts assigned and the process underway, Harry Nathan quietly vacated his position on May 31. (33) Astonishingly, since that date Nathan has eluded all scholarly and journalistic attention until my own investigation. (33)
The company was for the most part controlled by the Isaacs family, particularly the direct descendants of Henry and George Isaacs. (33) Henry and George left England in 1852 at the instigation of a third brother, Edward, and arrived in Auckland via Melbourne. (33) They established the firm and did profitable business during the Taranaki and Waikato war, winning a number of heavy contracts in connection with the provisioning of the troops. (33) Henry took a great interest in shipping affairs, and was for many years a member of the Auckland Harbour Board. (33) He was one of the chief shareholders of the Auckland Shipping Company, which was subsequently merged into the New Zealand Shipping Company. (33) The other major shareholders of the company were Laurence and Alfred Nathan, of L.D. Nathan & Company. (33) The Auckland shipping industry, like many colonial shipping routes, had by the 1890s been effectively monopolized by Jews. (33)
Arthur Creech Jones (15 May 1891 – 23 October 1964) was a British trade union official and politician. Originally a civil servant, his imprisonment as a conscientious objector during the First World War forced him to change careers. He was called up in the autumn, but refused to participate in any way. As a result, Jones was not granted an exemption from military service and was sent to prison from September 1916, and was not released until April 1919. He used his imprisonment as an opportunity to read further on history, politics and economics; he also made useful contacts in prison with figures who would later become senior in the Labour Party. On leaving prison, Creech Jones was unable to resume a civil service career; instead he did research on prisons for the Labour Research Department, a trade union-funded body (it did not have any formal connections with the Labour Party). Later that year he was appointed as Secretary of the National Union of Docks, Wharves and Shipping Staffs, and edited the union journal. When his union became a founding constituent of the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) in 1922, he was promoted to be national secretary of the administrative, clerical and supervisory section. At the 1922 London County Council election he was one of the Labour candidates for Peckham; additionally, he sat on the London Labour Party executive from 1921 to 1928. As part of his work for the TGWU, he visited the Ruhr Area to observe the effects of French occupation in 1923—writing a pamphlet about the issue on his return—and helped to train Clements Kadalie of the South African Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union in how to organise a union. Creech Jones wrote a pamphlet, Trade Unionism To-day, which was published by the Workers’ Educational Association in 1928. He was heavily involved in the Workers’ Educational Association, and also served as a Governor of Ruskin College, Oxford which was funded by the trade unions. At the 1929 general election, he fought the constituency of Heywood and Radcliffe as Labour Party candidate. He left his position at the TGWU after he was elected organising secretary of the Workers’ Travel Association (WTA), which funded foreign trips for people employed in industry. He spent a large part of the next decade travelling, writing up his trips in Travel Log, the journal of the WTA. Having visited most European countries, including Nazi Germany, he directed a rescue of hundreds of Jews from Czechoslovakia through the WTA after the Munich Agreement was signed. He was elected to Parliament in 1935 and developed a reputation for interest in colonial matters, gaining the nickname “unofficial member of the Kikuyu at Westminster”. He served in the Colonial Office in the Labour government of 1945–1950. After the formation of the National Government, Creech Jones at first went along with his TGWU colleague Ernest Bevin in joining the Socialist League. He was a leading figure in the National I.L.P. Affiliation Committee, which sought to persuade the Independent Labour Party to continue its affiliation to the Labour Party, but when the fight was lost, he resigned from the ILP and joined the Labour Party directly. Initially unwilling to try for a seat in Parliament, it was reported to be his observation of events in Germany which persuaded him to change his mind and at the 1935 general election he won the constituency of Shipley as a Labour Party candidate; his election was helped by the Conservative vote being split between the official candidate and the sitting Member of Parliament (MP), who had been deselected. Member of Parliament Creech Jones specialised in Colonial affairs in Parliament, especially those in Africa. In June 1936 he pressed the Government, which were encouraging colonies to set up memorials to King George V, to follow the example of Uganda and set up a technical educational institution. The Labour Party nominated him to the Colonial Office’s Educational Advisory Committee in 1936, on which he served for nine years. In 1937, he was a founding member of the Trades Union Congress Colonial Affairs Committee, and in 1940 he founded the Fabian Colonial Bureau. In 1939 Creech Jones promoted his Private Member’s Bill, the Access to Mountains Bill, to Parliament. He had long enjoyed walking in the open countryside, but found private landowners had barred the way; the Bill required mountains and moorland to be opened. Creech Jones organised a conference with those who would be affected by the Bill, at which agreement was reached on amendments to it that would enable their objections to be withdrawn; this compromise enabled the Bill to pass into law. When Ernest Bevin was appointed Minister of Labour in 1940, he chose Creech Jones as his Parliamentary Private Secretary. He used his influence in the Government to improve conditions for conscientious objectors. As Chairman of the Labour Party’s advisory committee on imperial issues, Creech Jones did much to formulate party policy on the colonies prior to the 1945 general election. He was Vice-Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education for West Africa which was set up in 1943, visiting the West African colonies to compile a well-received report. Attlee government After the Labour Party won the 1945 election, Creech Jones was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Colonial Office, with The Times wondering why he was not given a more senior post. He was a delegate to the first sitting of the United Nations General Assembly in London in 1946. Creech Jones’ support for eventual self-government of the colonies by all their inhabitants was unpopular with those colonies which were run by British settlers, and he had to moderate his speeches when he visited colonies such as Kenya. He also dealt with the British mandate in Palestine in its final years. In October 1946, the Secretary of State for the Colonies George Henry Hall was moved in a Government reshuffle and Creech Jones was promoted to head the Department, with a seat in the Cabinet and membership of the Privy Council. Creech Jones took over at a time when the tensions in Palestine were increasing, and he frequently appealed to moderate Jewish leaders to restrain the more violent. He was again a delegate to the United Nations during its debate on the subject, and informed the UN of the British government’s determination to give up the mandate and withdraw British forces. In September 1947, Creech Jones chaired the British West Indies conference at Montego Bay discussing closer association and possible federation of the British colonies in the area. The conference produced a preliminary agreement on federation and dominion status. He was later forced to recall Oliver Baldwin as Governor of the Leeward Islands, who had made outspoken comments which local opinion had taken badly.45 In Africa, Creech Jones presided over a conference at Lancaster House for the African colonies in 1948. He was able to issue a memorandum on local government in the Colonies, which confirmed the intention to bring in responsible government. He was able to make progress in the colony of Ceylon where he introduced a Government Bill to give the colony Dominion status and eventual independence. He thus presided over the Colonial Office’s first granting of independence to a ‘non-white’ colony. (Independence for India and Pakistan a year earlier had been the responsibility of the India Office.) Internally he reorganised the Colonial Office and its associated civil service to make it more appropriate for the changed role he foresaw for it.
- Ness Edwards bio
- Shinwell bio
- Chuter Ede bio
- Creech Jones article in Wikipedia
- K. O. Morgan Oxford History of England 0-19-285202-7
3 Had opposed Kenya’s development into a multi-racial state, believing that the native African population was ill-prepared for managing the government. Minister for a time in Churchill’s War Cabinet, & made a peer after Tory defeat in 1945.
5 Thus described in a contemporary photo, q.v.s.
6 Shinwell was the socialist son of Polish and Dutch Jews. (33) ‘Very anti middle class’, which he described as “not worth a tinker’s cuss”. (42) With a degree of loyalty and patriotism typical of his race, Shinwell was discovered by MI5 to have been passing British secrets to the Irgun in Palestine in November 1947. (33)
7 See Appendix 7
9 Gerard Vernon Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth (16 May 1898 – 28 September 1984), styled Viscount Lymington from 1925 until 1943, was a landowner, writer on agricultural topics, and politician involved in right-wing pro-Nazi groups. Hostile to immigration. “His use of Parliamentary questions has been blamed for British government reluctance to admit refugees” Emigrated to Kenya after the war??? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Wallop,_9th_Earl_of_Portsmouth
12 Onesimus Edwards, the Minister of Labour: generally known as Ness Edwards, was a Welsh Labour Party politician from Abertillery, Monmouthshire, Wales, the second of six children. He started work at the Penybont colliery on 5 April 1910, his 13th birthday. By the age of 17 he was a trade unionist, chairman of the local miners’ lodge. Imprisoned in 1917 as conscientious objector. At the beginning of World War II Edwards was instrumental in helping Czech miners escape the Sudetenland. An associate of Aneurin Bevan, Edwards was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service from 1945 to 1950. In 1947 he was sworn of the Privy Council. (41)
13 Malcolm McCorquodale, (Conservative) was the son of Norman McCorquodale, of Winslow Hall, Buckinghamshire, and the grandson of George McCorquodale, founder of McCorquodale printers. His mother was Constance Helena, daughter of Edmund Charles Burton. He was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford. He was chairman of McCorquodale and Company Ltd, and a director of the Bank of Scotland.
14 whom Churchill described as being ‘the sort of person who gives sodomy a bad name”
15 Sir Leonard David Gammans, 1st Baronet, known as David Gammans, was a British Conservative Party politician.
17 See Appendix 8: Creech Jones, Minister for the Colonies, supported self-government of the colonies by all their inhabitants, which was unpopular with those colonies which were run by British settlers. He also dealt with the British mandate in Palestine in its final years.
18 Stanley, a Conservative, had been Secretary of State for the Colonies under Churchill c 1942-5.
19 By turns a member of the Liberal and Labour parties, Lord Addison served as Minister of Munitions during the First World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under Clement Attlee.
21 Son of the writer John Buchan, he only got a 4th in History but was “a brilliant fisherman and naturalist, a gallant soldier and fine writer of English, an explorer, colonial administrator and man of business.”
22 (sic) Huguenots
23 Ignoring the Indian diaspora at least 80 years old at that time.
28 MP for Southwark North and Minister of Labour. Had overseen demobilisation of British forces.
32 Gay child abuser who abused his own son and others and whose wife left him for a lesbian.
34 Brown re-elected MP for Rugby at 1945 general election as an Independent MP against both Conservative and Labour opposition. Had supported Mosley for 1 day & won Rugby as an independent after Margesson, Tory Minister of War, was sacked after Singapore.
35 Sir Leonard David Gammans, 1st Baronet, known as David Gammans, Tory MP for Hornsey.
36 Michael Maitland Stewart, MP for Fulham East 1945–55. Soon after his initial election, he was made a junior whip, then a junior minister, as Under-Secretary of State for War (1947–51) Was subsequently Foreign Secretary under Wilson government.
39 Wing Commander Geoffrey Cooper (Middlesbrough); ex RGS Worcester. ‘a very bright intelligent man’ (Chuter Ede)
40 a British Labour Party politician, who played an inglorious part in the controversial arrest of society osteopath Stephen Ward, landlord of Christine Keeler in the Profumo affair of 1963.
41 Actually much older. Attacks on Flemings in the 11th Century.
43 Sir Leonard David Gammans, 1st Baronet, (Conservative)
45 In February 1948 Baldwin was appointed Governor and Commander in Chief of the Leeward Islands, a British colonial territory in the Caribbean. Boyle accompanied him, to the disapproval of some of the British establishment in Antigua. Baldwin arrived in Antigua in March 1948. Partly for this reason, and partly because Baldwin made no secret of his continuing socialist views or his desire for multiracial inclusiveness, he was recalled in 1950.