The anchor on the Empire Windrush is to be recovered and go on display as a lasting memorial (Alamy/PA)
The anchor of the ship which brought the first of the Windrush generation to Britain 75 years ago is to be recovered and put on display as a lasting memorial.
Fundraising efforts have been announced as the country celebrates Windrush Day, marking the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush to Tilbury Docks in Essex on June 22 1948, carrying people mainly from the Caribbean who answered Britain’s call to help fill post-war labour shortages.
The Windrush Anchor Foundation has been set up to raise £1 million to recover the 1.5 tonne piece and bring it back to the UK to go on permanent display.
The Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 (PA)
The ship sank in the Mediterranean in 1954, off the coast of Algeria.
Leading campaigner Patrick Vernon, a trustee of the foundation, said the anchor will help to ensure a lasting legacy so the Windrush story is not forgotten.
He said: “The arrival of the Windrush 75 years ago has come to symbolise the beginning of Britain’s evolution into a modern and prosperous multicultural country.
“At the centre of the iconic image of the Windrush docked at Tilbury is the ship’s anchor, a symbol of hope and belonging.
The Windrush anchor will be the symbolic anchor for the Windrush generation, keeping us steady
Michael King, foundation trustee
“Our project will bring the Windrush anchor back to Britain. It will become the centrepiece of a public monument to the Windrush generation and their contribution to this country.
“We will help to ensure that the Windrush story is never forgotten.”
Michael King, foundation trustee and son of Windrush Foundation founder Sam King, said: “It’s a privilege to be part of the foundation.
“My father would have thought of the anchor as keeping the ship in the right place once docked, as Jesus is the anchor of our Christian faith.
The Empire Windrush sank in the Mediterranean in 1954 (David L Mearns/Bluewater/PA)
“The Windrush anchor will be the symbolic anchor for the Windrush generation, keeping us steady.”
The foundation said it is aiming to raise the money with a mix of public and corporate donations, with a GoFundMe campaign set up to accept public cash to fund the initial £80,000, which it said would pay for one day at sea time during the recovery expedition.
The team are hopeful of being able to start the recovery efforts next year, with an estimate of between 10-14 days to find the anchor and remove it.
A conservation period of around a year will then follow when it is returned to the UK, during which a jury-led competition will be held to select the winning monument design.