Pride of place for Basil Watson’s Windrush monument at Waterloo station

A report by Eleni Courea for the London Times.

A monument designed by the Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson will be erected at Waterloo station in London as a tribute to the Windrush generation.

The 12ft-high statue, chosen from a shortlist of four designs, will be of a man, woman and child dressed in their Sunday best and climbing a mountain of suitcases hand-in-hand. It will be unveiled on Windrush Day on June 22 next year.

It is the first public artwork in the UK by Watson, whose parents travelled to England in 1952. His sculptures include one of Usain Bolt in Jamaica and one of Martin Luther King in Atlanta.

“I feel privileged that I now have this opportunity to express the aspirations, vision and courage of my parents,” Watson said. “I look forward to bringing my design to life, because I know how much this means to the Windrush community.”

The project, a Tory manifesto commitment, has £1 million government funding.

Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, said: “The monument will become a permanent place of reflection and inspiration for all, reminding us of our shared history and heritage.”

Watson’s design was selected by the independent Windrush commemoration committee, chaired by Baroness Benjamin, a Liberal Democrat peer.

Benjamin, a former presenter of BBC children’s programmes, said: “This Windrush monument represents the past, present and future and I hope it will be the catalyst for other monuments commemorating the extraordinary contribution of the Windrush generation to this country.”

The other shortlisted artists were Jeannette Ehlers, Thomas J Price and Valda Jackson, all of whom also have Caribbean heritage.

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