The West India Committee’s History

 

Timeline

1735

Establishment

Establishment

The West India Committee is established in Bishopsgate, London to protect trade in the British West Indies

1767

Breadfruit voyage

Breadfruit voyage

Commissioned Captain Bligh to introduce the breadfruit and mango to the West Indies to overcome food shortages

1798

London River Police

London River Police

The London River Police is founded, which is the forerunner of the London Metropolitan Police

1802

West India Docks

West India Docks

Instrumental in the building of the West India Docks in southeast London, at the time the biggest brick building in the world

1836

Slavery Abolition and Emancipation

Slavery Abolition and Emancipation

The West India Committee coordinated fundraising to end slave ownership and slave labour. After emancipation in the British West Indies, the Committee reached out to slaves from Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and assisted them in being granted asylum in declared safe havens.

1847

Continental Security Force

Proposed to UK’s Parliament, a continental security force for Africa to protect against slave-trading and deter would-be slave traders

1915

The West Indian Contingent Committee

The West Indian Contingent Committee

The West India Committee became the secretariat of the West Indian Contingent Committee administering to the needs of the 16,000 strong British West India Regiment during the First World War

1943

War Services Appeal

War Services Appeal

WIC War Services Appeal for West Indies servicemen in World War Two. Poster advert for charitable event at the Lyric Theatre.

1948

University of West Indies Chapel

University of West Indies Chapel

WIC supported the building of University of West Indies Chapel.

1980

WIC Library Donation

WIC Library Donation

The majority of the library of WIC transferred to the University of West Indies

2012

WIC orchestrates Prince Harry's Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean

WIC orchestrates Prince Harry's Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean

WIC orchestrated Prince Harry's Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean.

2013

WIC published in The House -  Parliament's Magazine

WIC published in The House - Parliament's Magazine

WIC partners with The House, Parliament's Magazine, to produce the first 'Guide to The Overseas Territories of the Caribbean' supplement.

2014 - 2016

The Caribbean's Great War project

The Caribbean's Great War project

The Caribbean’s Great War was a Heritage Lottery funded project that highlighted the involvement of the Caribbean and her people in WW1. A temporary exhibition was put on at the Museum of London Docklands which featured a Roll of Honour to the British West Indies Regiment. The exhibition was housed in the London, Sugar and Slavery gallery at the Museum of London Docklands and ran for one year due to popular demand. The launch event commemorated those who had served in the British West Indies Regiment.

Link to website

2015 - 2017

The West India Committee's Metropolitan Police Bursary Scheme

The West India Committee's Metropolitan Police Bursary Scheme

Between the Autumn of 2015 and the Spring of 2017 WIC ran a Bursary Scheme in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police and the Garfield Weston Foundation, with the lead administrator of the programme being Charlie Wheeler, Senior Envoy at WIC. We are pleased to announce that of the six participants in the Bursary Scheme, five individuals went on to join the Metropolitan Police Service.

2015

WIC facilitates Montserrat's Associate Membership of UNESCO

WIC facilitates Montserrat's Associate Membership of UNESCO

Thanks to WIC's efforts throughout the year, Montserrat joined UNESCO as an Associate Member on 3 November 2015. WIC secured an expedited admission, making Montserrat the 200th member of UNESCO.

2015

WIC assists the National Museum of Montserrat

WIC assists the National Museum of Montserrat

In response to an appeal for assistance from the National Museum of Montserrat, WIC secured funding from the Lindbury Trust to support a six month residential consultancy to develop its archiving and curating strategies through which a number of local youths were trained.

2016

WIC's archive and library inscribed as a UNESCO Memory of the World collection

WIC's archive and library inscribed as a UNESCO Memory of the World collection

In 2016, WIC's archive and library was inscribed as a UNESCO Memory of the World collection.

Link to UNESCO press release

2016

WIC's official partnership with UNESCO begins

WIC's official partnership with UNESCO begins

In 2016, WIC's official partnership (consultative status) with UNESCO was confirmed. As a consulting NGO to UNESCO, WIC specialises in advising on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and heritage.

 

2016

WIC supports the Government of Anguilla London Office

Since February 2016, Mrs Blondel Cluff (Chief Executive of the West India Committee) has been the Government of Anguilla's Representative to the UK and EU. Subsequently, the West India Committee has supported Mrs Cluff in her role and the Government of Anguilla London Office is currently located within the charity's office premises. Many of WIC's staff are seconded to the Government of Anguilla London Office to assist with this important work, which has included preparation for Brexit and the recovery from the worst hurricane on record, Hurricane Irma.

Link to website

 

2016 - 2017

West Indians: Forefathers of the Metropolitan Police

West Indians: Forefathers of the Metropolitan Police

In October 2016, WIC began a Heritage Lottery funded project on the history of the Thames River Police. The exhibition opened on 13 October 2017 before closing on 14 January 2018.The exhibition held at the Museum of London, Dockland was opened by Dr Boyan Radoykov, head of the UNESCO Memory of the World programme, second only to a World Heritage Site.

Link to website & link to UNESCO press release

 

2017

WIC publishes a white paper on Anguilla and 'Brexit'

WIC publishes a white paper on Anguilla and 'Brexit'

The White Paper on Anguilla and Brexit

Please click on the link above to view, download and print 'Anguilla & Brexit: Britain's forgotten EU border.' This white paper was produced by The West India Committee in partnership with the Government of Anguilla.

2017

WIC publishes a white paper on Anguilla and Hurricane Irma

WIC publishes a white paper on Anguilla and Hurricane Irma

White Paper - Anguilla & Hurricane Irma

Please click on the link above to view, download and print 'Anguilla & Hurricane Irma: Recovery, Resilience and Prosperity.' This white paper was produced by The West India Committee in partnership with the Government of Anguilla in the aftermath of the destruction of the hurricanes in 2017.

2017

WIC raises almost £300,000 for Anguilla's recovery from Hurricane Irma

WIC raises almost £300,000 for Anguilla's recovery from Hurricane Irma

WIC was designated as one of the official charities to receive public donations following the destruction of Hurricane Irma on Anguilla in September 2017. From numerous sources, WIC was able to raise EC$1,075,140, which is close to £300,000. These funds are reserved specifically for Anguilla's recovery and rebuilding effort. Thank you to all those who donated.

2017

WIC's Chief Executive presents at International Development Select Committee

WIC's Chief Executive presents at International Development Select Committee

In October 2017, WIC's Chief Executive, Mrs Blondel Cluff, presented at the International Development Select Committee on the UK's response to Hurricane Irma, on behalf of the Government of Anguilla.

Link to footage

2017

WIC's work is cited at the United Nations

WIC's work is cited at the United Nations

In November 2017, Mrs Blondel Cluff and Mr Charlie Wheeler joined the Government of Anguilla delegation at a CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference at the United Nations (UN) Heaquarters in New York, organised in the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2017. WIC's white paper on Hurricane Irma was accepted and cited by the UN.

Link to website

2018

WIC's Chief Executive awarded a CBE

WIC's Chief Executive awarded a CBE

In 2018, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded Mrs Blondel Cluff a CBE for services to Numismatic Design and the Caribbean community in the UK and Abroad.

2018

WIC staff present evidence at Foreign Affairs Select Committee

WIC staff present evidence at Foreign Affairs Select Committee

In January 2018, on behalf of the Government of Anguilla, WIC staff took part in the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on the subject of the UK's response to the hurricanes of 2017 in its Overseas Territories. Mrs Blondel Cluff CBE and Mr Charlie Wheeler presented evidence in their capacity as WIC and the Government of Anguilla London Office. WIC trainees were in attendance and gained invaluable experience of the parliamentary process.

Link to footage