Landing Cards

Late in the evening on 21 June 1948 the MV Empire Windrush sailed up the River Thames and docked at the Port of Tilbury just to the east of London. Its previous port of call had been Kingston, Jamaica, but it had also collected passengers from Bermuda, from Trinidad, and from Tampico in Mexico.

The following morning, 22 June 1948, 1027 men, women and children began to disembark from the ship.

British media attention at the time predominantly focussed on the ‘500 Jamaican men, all of whom were eager to work in Britain’ while largely overlooking the other 527 passengers.

The 1027 passenger landing cards are reimagined versions of the original cards destroyed by the Home Office in 2010. The information they contain is derived from a transcription of the original passenger list held at The National Archives.

Completed and submitted for each passenger as they disembarked, the landing card represents both a mundane piece of maritime bureaucracy and, at the same time, a pivotal moment in the life of the passenger.

View the landing cards representing those who settled in South East London below.

Addresses provided at the time include Wickham Road in Brockley, Erlanger Road in New Cross, Manor Lane in Lewisham, and Brownhill Road in Hither Green.