Anniversaries including the docking of Empire Windrush and end of WW1 central to Black History Month 2018.

Black history month Windrush7

©Jim Grover, from Windrush: Portrait of a Generation on display at the Art Pavilion, Mile End

The council will host and support a lively and wide-ranging programme of events including exhibitions, film, workshops and performances in dance, music and song, to mark Black History Month this October.

Tower Hamlets’ proud history of welcoming people from around the world is reflected in this year’s activities, which include Windrush: Portrait of a Generation, the renowned photo exhibition by award-winning social documentary photographer Jim Grover.  

The exhibition focuses on the West Indian community who came to England during the two decades following the Second World War. They are known as the Windrush Generation after the ship that brought the first group of migrants to Tilbury on 21 June 1948.

Windrush: Portrait of a Generation will run from 4–28 October at The Art Pavilion, Mile End Park.

The exhibition opening on 4 October will form the launch of the council’s Black History Month 2018 programme. It will also be part of First Thursdays – when over 150 galleries in east London come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening.

And as the 100th anniversary of the Armistice approaches, an exhibition titled The Empire Needs Men will highlight the individual stories of African soldiers and regiments, and the history surrounding them.

Standing colour banners will tell these stories along with framed historical photography from the World War I era.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “Black History Month provides a wonderful opportunity for residents of all ages and interests to engage with the richness of Black and Afro Caribbean arts, culture and history.

Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths and we are proud of the role the African and Caribbean community plays in making Tower Hamlets a vibrant and exciting place. In the 70th anniversary year of the arrival of Empire Windrush, we are particularly pleased to host Jim Grover’s acclaimed photo exhibition Windrush: Portrait of a Generation.”

The month will also feature a number of free movie screenings and celluloid social history pieces. There will be spoken word events and story telling sessions for young people, heritage talks, and personal accounts from the Windrush generation. 

Other highlights include:

  • A free, weekly film programme at Idea Store Whitechapel from The New Black Film Collective (TNBFC)
  • Somali Week Festival – a thought-provoking programme looking at the culture of Somaliland and its diaspora.
  • African, Arab and Asian merchant seamen in WW1, featuring presentations, displays and photos telling untold stories of BAME merchant seamen.
  • A brilliant programme of activities, hosted by Tower Hamlets Local History Library and archives, including an insight into East London’s proud history of activism with Women Unite Against Racism.

Councillor Amina Ali, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit said: “We are delighted that once again in 2018, the council has been instrumental in facilitating an interesting and extensive programme of more than 70 events for Black History Month.”

For full listings including venues, times and dates, please visit

Posted on Tuesday 18th September 2018