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Finding Home – A Windrush Story with Alford & Howard Gardner

July 5, 2023 @ 18:30 21:00

On 24 May 1948, the Empire Windrush sailed from Kingston, Jamaica, to harbour at Tilbury Docks. It carried 1,027 passengers and two stowaways, and more than two thirds of them were West Indies nationals. On 22nd June 1948 they disembarked onto the docks, Alford Dalrymple Gardner was among them.

Alford’s story traverses both the uplifting highs and intolerant lows that West Indian migrants of his generation encountered upon travelling to Britain to forge out a life. From joining the British military during World War II to returning back to Jamaica once it was won-only to come back to the UK when the government decided it needed him again-Alford witnessed milestone events of the 20th century that shaped the country he still lives in today. In the context of a supposedly ‘post-Imperial’ Britain where the lives of West Indian migrants hang precariously on the whims of the Home Office, Alford’s heartening testimony is a celebration of those who endured hardships so that generations to come could call this place home.

We are delighted that Alford and Howard will join us in the shop to talk about this memoir ‘Finding Home’ which will be released on 22nd June.

Born in 1926 in Kingston, Jamaica, Alford Gardner first came to England in 1944 to support the war effort, serving in the RAF. After a brief stay back in Jamaica, he decided to return to England to help to rebuild the country. He boarded the HMT Empire Windrush intending to build a life in the country he once called home. Despite a less than accommodating welcome back, he persisted and succeeded in forging a better life for his family. Now 97 and twice widowed, Alford spends all his leisure time at the bingo hall. When not playing bingo, he can be found watching sports or spending time with his family. A much fuller sense of Alford’s life is conveyed in his autobiography: Finding Home.

Howard Gardner, not the American psychologist, but a retired engineer from Leeds. Taking after his father, Howard is a big sports fan, especially rugby league and supports Leeds Rhinos. He also follows Leeds United, Yorkshire Cricket team and the West Indian Cricket test team. He has spent the last two years helping his father record his memoirs.

95 Town Street
Farsley, Leeds, LS28 5HX
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