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MV Empire Windrush - West Indian immigrants - Lord Kitchener, Lord Woodbine - Calypso, Pan and the UK

Main article: British African-Caribbean community

In 1948, the Empire Windrush was en route from Australia to England via the Atlantic, docking in Kingston, Jamaica. An advert had appeared in a Jamaican newspaper offering cheap transport on the ship for anybody who wanted to come and work in the UK. At that time, there were no immigration restrictions for citizens of one part of the British Empire moving to another part. The arrival of the boat immediately prompted complaints from some members of parliament, but legislation controlling immigration was not passed until 1962. Among the passengers were calypso musicians Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner, Lord Woodbine and Mona Baptiste alongside sixty Polish women displaced during the Second World War. The stowaway, Averill Wanchove was a '25-year-old seamstress' who was discovered seven days out of Kingston. A whipround was organised on board ship, raising £50 – enough for the fare and £4 pocket money for her. Nancy Cunard heiress to the Cunard shipping fortune, who was on her way back from Trinidad, 'took a fancy to her' and 'intends looking after her'. In 1998, an area of public open space in Brixton was renamed Windrush Square to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the West Indians...

...The period of large-scale immigration brought many new musical styles to the United Kingdom. These styles gained popularity amongst Britons of all cultural origins, and aided Caribbean music in gaining international recognition. The earliest of these exponents was the calypso artist Lord Kitchener, who arrived in Britain on the Windrush in 1948 accompanied by fellow musician Lord Beginner. Already a star in his native Trinidad, Lord Kitchener got an immediate booking at the only West Indian club in London. Six months later, he was appearing in three clubs nightly, and his popularity extended beyond the West Indian and African nightclub audiences, to include music hall and variety show audiences. Kitchener's recording "London is the place for me" exemplified the experience of the Windrush generation. Other calypso musicians began to collaborate with African Kwela musicians and British jazz players in London clubs....

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Going to England by Boat was the thing to do in the 50's and 60's . Most people couldn't afford to fly KLM or BOAC. My sister went by boat to London. Now the only time we take a boat is to go on a cruise. We went full circle. Blessings.

You are quite welcome Brenda... Pan is far more than an instrument. And one cannot separate the instrument from its people, their culture, experiences and history worldwide.

By the way did you see the steelband in part 2 around 34:35?


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