In pictures: The Windrush generation and pioneering films about Caribbean immigrant life in Britain

As part of this year’s 70th anniversary commemoration of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, an exhibition at Bradford City Hall from 21-23 June includes a number of film stills contributed by the BFI. Each of these pioneering titles grapples with the lives of the Caribbean community in the UK, from the Windrush era on.

Nigel Arthur

<strong>Pool of London (1951)</strong>. This realist thriller was one of the first British films to venture into racial politics, featuring Earl Cameron as an outcast who seeks love and solace away from the racial tensions of the docklands. Here he finds himself in the ruins of a bombed-out church

Pool of London (1951). This realist thriller was one of the first British films to venture into racial politics, featuring Earl Cameron as an outcast who seeks love and solace away from the racial tensions of the docklands. Here he finds himself in the ruins of a bombed-out church
Credit: Jack Dooley/StudioCanal

<strong>Pressure (1976)</strong>. Horace Ové’s drama about tensions between first and second generation West Indian immigrants in Notting Hill was the first British film with an all-black cast. It poses questions about the role of the post-Windrush generation in a multi-cultural Britain

Pressure (1976). Horace Ové’s drama about tensions between first and second generation West Indian immigrants in Notting Hill was the first British film with an all-black cast. It poses questions about the role of the post-Windrush generation in a multi-cultural Britain
Credit: Horace Ové

Caught up in a crime he did not commit, Anthony ‘Tony’ Watson (Herbert Norville) runs for his life as he is pursued by the Metropolitan Police. This image was also used for the Pressure poster

Caught up in a crime he did not commit, Anthony ‘Tony’ Watson (Herbert Norville) runs for his life as he is pursued by the Metropolitan Police. This image was also used for the Pressure poster
Credit: Horace Ové

Herbert Norville as Tony. Ové was also a photographer who previously documented the Black Power struggle in the UK. This photo of Tony at a Portobello Market depicts him struggling with life on the streets, alienated from opportunities his white friends take for granted

Herbert Norville as Tony. Ové was also a photographer who previously documented the Black Power struggle in the UK. This photo of Tony at a Portobello Market depicts him struggling with life on the streets, alienated from opportunities his white friends take for granted
Credit: Horace Ové

<strong>Babylon (1980)</strong>: Beefy (Trevor Laird), Spark (Brian Bovell) and Errol (David N. Haynes). Filmed on the streets on Deptford and Brixton, Franco Rossi’s film mirrored the social inequalities in Britain in the 1980s, becoming a cult hit at late shows and film theatres

Babylon (1980): Beefy (Trevor Laird), Spark (Brian Bovell) and Errol (David N. Haynes). Filmed on the streets on Deptford and Brixton, Franco Rossi’s film mirrored the social inequalities in Britain in the 1980s, becoming a cult hit at late shows and film theatres
Credit: National Film Trustee Company Ltd

Blue (Brinsley Forde) in dismay as he holds a speaker from a sound system destroyed by supporters of the National Front

Blue (Brinsley Forde) in dismay as he holds a speaker from a sound system destroyed by supporters of the National Front
Credit: National Film Trustee Company Ltd

<strong>Burning an Illusion (1981)</strong>. Menelik Shabazz’s film was the second UK feature by a black director, this time focusing on a young woman’s love life in west London. Cassie McFarlane is the heart of the film and her character Pat undergoes a liberating voyage of discovery, but at a personal cost

Burning an Illusion (1981). Menelik Shabazz’s film was the second UK feature by a black director, this time focusing on a young woman’s love life in west London. Cassie McFarlane is the heart of the film and her character Pat undergoes a liberating voyage of discovery, but at a personal cost
Credit: BFI

Pat (Cassie McFarlane) and Del (Victor Romero) in a photo booth

Pat (Cassie McFarlane) and Del (Victor Romero) in a photo booth
Credit: BFI

Del and Pat chat in a restaurant. On the wall in the background is a photo gallery of soul artists, including Aretha Franklin

Del and Pat chat in a restaurant. On the wall in the background is a photo gallery of soul artists, including Aretha Franklin
Credit: BFI

<strong>Babymother (1998)</strong>. This 1998 film was the first black British musical and is set within the Caribbean community in Harlesden, north-west London. Anita (Angela Lauren Smith) wants to become a professional reggae singer and performs with her friends, Sharon (Caroline Chikezie) and Yvette (Jocelyn Esien)

Babymother (1998). This 1998 film was the first black British musical and is set within the Caribbean community in Harlesden, north-west London. Anita (Angela Lauren Smith) wants to become a professional reggae singer and performs with her friends, Sharon (Caroline Chikezie) and Yvette (Jocelyn Esien)
Credit: Channel Four Television Corporation

Anita with her husband Byron (Wil Johnson)

Anita with her husband Byron (Wil Johnson)
Credit: Channel Four Television Corporation

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