Music legend honoured in Trafford for Windrush Day

A calypso legend who arrived in the UK on the Windrush has been honoured in Trafford.

A blue plaque has been unveiled on the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving in the UK, outside the house where Lord Kitchener lived in Stretford. Lord Kitchener – real name Aldwyn Roberts – was captured on news reels singing ‘London is the place for me’ when passengers disembarked on 22 June 1948.

The unveiling, arranged by Trafford Council’s Local Studies department, took place outside 48 Brooks Road, Stretford where Lord Kitchener lived from 1957-62 with his first wife, Elsie.

Speaking at the ceremony was poet Anthony Joseph, fictional biographer of Lord Kitchener and the 2022 winner of the TS Eliot poetry prize. Also speaking was poet Doretta Maynard, Dr Ken McIntyre who spoke about Lord Kitchener’s life in England and Trafford Mayor Dolores O’Sullivan.

Present at the ceremony was the first Black mayor of Trafford Whit Stennett, Cllr Tom Ross, Leader of Trafford Council, and many Trafford community group members. A musical performance on the steel pan was provided by Ronnie ‘General’ Walfall.

Cllr Ross said:

“Lord Kitchener was a great entertainer who brought life to Manchester. He brought calypso music to the UK, as well as owning nightclubs.

“He is a great example of how the Windrush generation have contributed to the UK society, so it was fitting that we unveiled a blue plaque in his honour on the 75th anniversary of the Windrush’s arrival.

“It was a privilege to be at the unveiling where we could honour a musical legend of Trafford and Trinidad.”

After the unveiling, Mr Joseph gave a talk on his research into Lord Kitchener at the Limelight centre.

Lord Kitchener lived in the UK from 1948 to 1962, experiencing music success and establishing himself at the ‘Calypso Grandmaster’. Between these years, his reportage calypso style depicted the Caribbean experience in Britain. After moving back to Trinidad, he took the title of Road March king on 10 occasions between 1963 and 1976, an annual competition to compose the calypso for the carnival procession.

Lord Kitchener died on 11 February 2000.

Posted on Wednesday 21st June 2023