Tel: 01623 707017
We've Got Mansfield, Ashfield & Sherwood Covered


Carnival a Caribbean celebration

Posted onPosted on 19th Jun

A project to highlight the contribution to Mansfield life and culture of the Windrush generation was highlighted by the success of the town’s first carnival.

Thousands of people gathered in the Market Place for the Caribbean-themed carnival, a highlight of events in Mansfield to mark the 75th Windrush celebrations happening across Britain.

Mansfield District Council’s project aims to shine a light on the contribution made by the Windrush generation and their descendants, since HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks on 22nd June, 1948.

Those stepping off that initial sailing were the first of thousands of new arrivals during subsequent years as people from the Caribbean were encouraged to start a new life in Britain.

Mansfield was among those places where these new citizens settled, with some taking jobs down the local coal mines, and in factories and hosiery mills.

Mayor Andy Abrahams said he was proud of the way the district embraced the Windrush celebrations.

“The carnival was fantastic, a day of great energy and good vibes,” he said. “It is events like this which really help to bring communities together in pride and send out the message of friendship and inclusion.

“I am so proud that Mansfield has really been leading the way in this region in terms of recognising this important milestone for the British black community and celebrating it as part of our own district’s heritage and history.”

As well as the carnival, the past months have seen a major exhibition, It Runs Through Us, open at Mansfield Museum, alongside Windrush educational activities for children and dance lessons for people who wanted to take part in the carnival.

The museum has also been co-ordinating a significant series of oral histories from members of the local black community.

These videos are included in the exhibition and form the first archive of black-led oral histories in Mansfield, charting the memories and achievements of these Windrush pioneers.

The Mansfield-born children of the families, many now grand-parents themselves, are featured, sharing positive experiences of childhood, friendships, and working lives, alongside challenges faced.

Among those who came to the UK from the Caribbean was Samuel Case whose family story, going back to the days of plantation slavery in the 1700s, is told by his son, Carl Case.

Samuel worked at Welbeck Colliery after leaving Jamaica as a young man and later became the first black man elected as a deacon by a 120-strong congregation at Mansfield’s Baptist Church, the highest honour the church can bestow on a person.

Carl said: “The wide variety of local Windrush events taking place this year is a tribute to the early pioneers who travelled, settled, and now have Mansfield-born and raised great grandchildren living here.

“This is a true celebration of our elders’ achievements and also a reflection on some of the challenges they faced — some of which our community is still sadly facing.

“However, these events are showing that, collectively, there is the commitment and resolve towards working to remove the unnecessary barriers.

“It’s so encouraging to see how the council is leading on sharing positive perceptions of black history within the wider context of local history to encourage equality and fairness for all.”

The carnival and other Windrush events have been possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation programme, which the council successfully secured last year.

The celebrations are set to continue. As well as the exhibition which will remain open until November, other activities are planned.

Sian Booth, the council’s Cultural Services manager, added: “The Windrush story is a significant part of British history.

“As part of the legacy of the exhibition, a digital version of It Runs Through Us will be made available for every child in Mansfield, so that schools can continue to build understanding of this shared national history.

“Black history and decolonisation will continue to be a major theme for Mansfield District Council in future years.

“Not only is the Windrush 75 a milestone in our history, but it will kickstart a wider programme of work that aims to fully represent our multi-ethnic society.”

To find out more visit or contact Kirsty Sanders on [email protected] or 01623 463088.