Owner of one of Manchester's oldest Jamaican businesses reflects on Windrush Generation

  • Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Tim Scott

The owner of one of Manchester's oldest Jamaican businesses has said it is "astronomical" that it has been 75 years since the Windrush Generation first came to the UK.

Joanne Thompson, owner of Old Trafford Bakery came to the UK from Jamaica in 1964 to be a nurse for the NHS.

After 36 years working in North Manchester General Hospital, she retired and bought the business where her son, Paul, was already working.

The previous owner was also a member of the WIndrush Generation.

Joanne Thompson now owns the Old Trafford Bakery. Credit: ITV Granada

Thursday 22 June marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship carrying Caribbean families to the UK to help fill the need for more workers after the Second World War.

Joanne Thompson, known as Mrs T by customers and staff said: She said: “It’s astronomical, isn’t it? 75 years. We’ve worked so hard, rebuilt so many industries.

"I just can’t believe it’s been so long, and it’s still celebrated.”

Her son, Paul Thompson is the Head Baker at the store. He creates authentic Jamaican food including patties, sour dough, and fruit buns.

Paul said: “I’ve worked here for a long time now, since I was a kid for the old boss Mr Reed.

"It’s hard work but I love it. I’ve tried other jobs but it’s always been baking for me. Working with my hands, serving the public… I love it.”

When asked what he would recommend, he said: “Anything, man. Anything at all.”

In 2018, the Windrush Generation also fell into scandal as people were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and in at least 83 cases wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

In 2019, the Government officially named the 22 June “Windrush Day” to commemorate the thousands of people from the Caribbean who were invited to live in the UK and help contribute post-war Britain.

Some of the products available at the bakery for purchase. Credit: ITV Granada

For Joanne, the day is a welcome acknowledgement of the importance of the Windrush Generation.

She said: “It shows that the government, and society, is coming to the realisation that we were invited here and we were given the job to rebuild this country.”

Over the last 60 years, she’s come to love the UK and has seen all the ways it has changed.

She said: “When I got here it was February and so cold.

"It was snowing which I had never seen before, and not what I was used to in Jamaica. But my sister gave me a warm room and a big woolly coat to keep me warm.

“Not everyone was so friendly then, but things are much better now.”

Her daughter, Anthea, was born in the UK and works in the bakery alongside her motherand brother. She thinks there’s no better example of the Windrush Generation than herown mum.

She said: “I’m so proud of her. She came over here with no money and worked so hard.

"She did long shifts as a nurse for only £8 an hour and could still look after us and buy us a house, and now she owns this amazing bakery!

“To me, this day is about celebrating black people in Britain who came here to help inhospitals and other jobs, just like my mum. It’s also just about everyone coming together.

"Jamaicans are the most welcoming people in the world. This place is for anybody andeverybody.”

Joanne also mentioned the importance of bringing different cultures together, saying: “It’sthe only bakery in this area, so we get all sorts of people.

"Black or white, people love coming here."

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