‘They Met At Elmdon’

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Date:Not Recorded

Description:The first story about Windrush, with a more local reference, appeared a day after the docking of the ship, on the 23rd of June. This item briefly mentions an interracial couple who met at Elmdon Airport in Birmingham, around the time of the war, and later arrived in Tilbury on the Empire Windrush. Interracial relationships were clearly unusual in late ‘40s Britain. The article is arguably printed as less of a ‘feel-good’ story about wartime love, and more of a ‘curiosity.’ The ellipses which follows the headline, ‘They met at Elmdon…,’ invites a voyeuristic assumption about what happened in the period between their meeting and the photograph of the couple with their two children. The description of the Jamaicans as job-seekers, but in quotation marks, almost implies an ulterior motive for migration, which in the context of the story, is made more obvious. In this way, the article, debatably contains some of the problematic ways of representing interracial relationships, which were common in many other accounts of mixed-‘race’ relationships in the colonies, and in Britain’s coastal cities.

The article also, and very importantly, draws attention to the war effort made by Black soldiers. However, as we shall see in successive stories, this appeared to mean little to many people resident in the ‘host’ nation.

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Donor ref:Birmingham Gazette June 23rd 1948  (60/1212)

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