Collection Spotlight: Howard Grey Photography

Photographer Howard Grey was at Waterloo station when the last of the immigrants who would later become known as the Windrush Generation were arriving.

Windrush migrants arriving at Waterloo Station, London, 1962 (b/w photo) / Howard Grey

Howard Grey learnt the photographer's trade from his father, Alf Grey, who made his career out of seaside holiday photographs. Howard's career spans over 50 years of commercial and personal photography, but the focus of his work held in the Bridgeman Images archive dates back to the beginnings of his career.

Windrush migrants arriving at Waterloo Station, London, 1962 (b/w photo) / Howard Grey

In the summer of 1962, a 20 year old Howard Grey heard that a train would shortly be arriving in London's Waterloo station carrying the last wave of West Indian migrants to the UK before the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 came into force. Many of these immigrants were trying to meet family and friends before it would become harder for them to travel into the UK; previously it had been easier for them to do so as their islands were typically UK colonies. The act would halt the ease of travel, and this group were the last wave to be admitted in this way.

Windrush migrants arriving at Waterloo Station, London, 1962 (b/w photo) / Howard Grey

Seeing a historic photographic opportunity, Grey gathered his equipment and headed to the station. It was a grey day and he knew that lighting conditions in the station were far from perfect. He was surprised to be met by smartly suited travellers upon his arrival at the station, and began to snap away at the massed crowds he saw waiting for their friends, family and directions from rail staff.

Windrush migrants arriving at Waterloo Station, London, 1962 (b/w photo) / Howard Grey

Unfortunately for Grey, the photos were underexposed were therefore unusable. He saved the negatives and 50 years later, thanks to technological advancements, he was able to develop them into the images we now view today. The legacy of those in these photos cannot be understated, and the people shown in the photographs were the last of the generation of immigrants who would become known as the Windrush Generation, named after the HMT Empire Windrush ship that had carried immigrants previously.

Windrush migrants arriving at Waterloo Station, London, 1962 (b/w photo) / Howard Grey

In the early 1960s, Howard established himself as one of the few commercial photographers working in London, at that time based in Knightsbridge. From 1963 to 1969 he was involved with a variety of fashion and TV commercial assignments, and clearly had the skills needed to boost his reputation. He worked for brands such as Hitachi, NatWest and BT. 

Windrush migrants arriving at Waterloo Station, London, 1962 (b/w photo) / Howard Grey

As an expert in ninteenth and early 20th century photographic processes and equipment, he worked as an independant advisor and consultant to Sothebys Photographic department. 

 

See the full selection of Howard Grey's photographs of the Windrush Generation here.

Read the Guardian's recent article on Howard's work, which was published online and in print, here.

 

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