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Seamstress, nurse, caterer: Celebrating the Windrush women

Published
23 May 2018
Timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of SS Empire Windrush, which brought 492 Caribbean migrants to the UK, a new exhibition comprising a series of photo essays and portraiture by Jim Grover is on show at the Oxo Tower in London.
The government's immigration policies have been in the spotlight in recent weeks because of the Windrush scandal. Some migrants have been threatened with deportation in recent years, despite being in the country legally. Many have no formal documentation, which has led to them being refused jobs or healthcare.
Here, we present a set of portraits of women who are part of the Windrush generation.

Ruby

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Ruby arrived in 1955 from Westmorland, Jamaica, aged 19
  • She first worked as an auxiliary nurse in St Stephen's Hospital, Fulham
  • Ruby holds a photograph of herself in the Coach and Horses pub in Brixton, south London, in the 1980s, where she worked as barmaid

Rose

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Rose arrived in 1956 from Kingston, Jamaica, aged 24
  • She worked as a nurse in the Brompton Hospital in Knightsbridge, west London
  • The photograph held by Rose was taken in Harry Jacobs's studio

Eleithia

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Eleithia arrived in 1957 from Saint Thomas, Jamaica, aged 18
  • She worked in a laundry in Hendon, north London
  • The archive photograph was taken on the day of her marriage to Norman in Stamford Hill, north London, in 1960

Norma

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Norma arrived in 1958 from Saint Thomas, Jamaica, aged 13
  • She worked as a seamstress in a dress factory in the West End
  • The hand-coloured photograph held by Norma was taken in a photography studio on the Brixton Road in the late 1960s

Pearlene

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Pearlene arrived in 1958 from Saint Catherine, Jamaica, aged 19
  • She worked as a caterer at Express Dairy in Charing Cross, central London
  • Pearlene is displaying the photograph in her 1958 British passport

Hermine

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Hermine arrived in 1959, from Clarendon, Jamaica, aged 21
  • She worked in a Brixton laundry
  • Hermine holds a picture taken at her wedding to Lester in the Brixton registry office in 1960. She had met Lester on the wharf in Kingston as they were about to board the same ship that would bring them to Britain

Delores

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Delores arrived in 1961 from Saint Ann, Jamaica, aged 25
  • She worked on an assembly line making Tannoy loudspeakers in Gypsy Hill, south London
  • Delores is pictured with her mother, Rose, in a photograph taken in a studio in Jamaica

Hyacinth

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Hyacinth arrived in 1962 from Portland, Jamaica, aged 15
  • She was a machinist in a baby clothes factory in Holborn, central London
  • Hyacinth was also photographed in Harry Jacobs's Brixton studio, on her 25th birthday

Olive

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Olive arrived in 1964 from Berbice, Guyana, aged 13
  • She was a seamstress in a clothes factory in south Wimbledon, south-west London
  • The black-and-white picture of Olive was taken in a Clapham photography studio in 1969

Daphne

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Daphne arrived in 1971 from Saint Ann, Jamaica, aged 22
  • She worked in a factory making suitcases on the Wandsworth Road, south London
  • Daphne holds a picture of herself at a wedding in Jamaica when she was 16 and wearing make-up for the first time

Monica

image copyrightJim Grover
  • Monica arrived in 1974 from Saint Thomas, Jamaica, aged 25
  • She was a cleaner on a geriatric ward in Dulwich Hospital, south London
  • The photograph in her album was taken at her home in Camberwell Green, south London, in 1985
Jim Grover's pictures, Windrush: Portrait of a Generation, can be seen at the Oxo Tower Wharf, London, from 24 May until 10 June
All photographs by Jim Grover

Related Topics

  • UK immigration
  • Photography

More on this story

  • Windrush generation: Who are they and why are they facing problems?