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Empire Windrush: New 50p coin launched to celebrate 75th anniversary

The design of the 50p coin, which is available to buy from the Royal Mint’s website, depicts two smartly-dressed people from the Windrush generation

Vicky Shaw
Monday 19 June 2023 07:37 BST
A new Royal Mint 50p has been launched to mark 75 years since the Empre Windrush ship arrived in the UK (Royal Mint/PA)
A new Royal Mint 50p has been launched to mark 75 years since the Empre Windrush ship arrived in the UK (Royal Mint/PA) (Royal Mint)

The Royal Mint is marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of passengers on the Empire Windrush ship with a new commemorative 50p coin.

The coin’s designer, artist Valda Jackson, was born in St Thomas, Jamaica, and moved to England in 1964.

Her parents were among the generation of people invited to leave their homes in the Caribbean to work in Britain, and she later joined them at the age of five.

The coin depicts two smartly-dressed people from the Windrush generation.

The design pays tribute to the many British Caribbean and Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1973, the Royal Mint said.

Ms Jackson said of the coin design: “It’s more than a celebration of one moment – it is an acknowledgement of the real, lived experience of generations of ordinary working people, and, though we may have struggled, and we still struggle in so many ways, we and our descendants are, in fact, at home.

“And this is what the image – these figures and the added Union Jack – represents.

Empire Windrush packed with West Indian immigrants on arrival at the Port of Tilbury on the River Thames on 22 June 1948. This event is often cited as the start of the postwar immigration boom that was to change British society forever. The British Nationality Act 1948 gave British citizenship to all people living in Commonwealth countries with full rights of entry and settlement in Britain. (Alamy Stock Photo)
Jamaican immigrants arriving at Tilbury Docks in Essex, 22nd June 1948. (SSPL via Getty Images)

“I am very happy to have my design selected for this coin, which honours our parents and their legacy, and which celebrates our presence, achievements, and contributions that continue to enrich our society.”

The Royal Mint said it had also worked closely with Dr Juanita Cox, a Caribbean Studies specialist at the University of London, throughout the whole process of introducing the commemorative coin.

Rebecca Morgan, director of collector services at the Royal Mint, said: “The Royal Mint is committed to representing and celebrating diversity on UK coinage, and, as we approach the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush’s arrival in the United Kingdom, we are honoured to be marking this important anniversary in British history on an official UK 50p coin.

“Windrush has become symbolic of its passengers and today encompasses the subsequent generations who have played a pivotal role in shaping modern British culture and society since the Second World War.”

The ship’s passengers disembarked at Tilbury in Essex on June 22 1948.

The 50p commemorative coin is available on the Royal Mint’s website in a range of precious metals and finishes, with prices starting at £11.

The Mint said it is not currently able to confirm whether the coin will enter general circulation.

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