FOR more than half a century they have been known as the Windrush generation.

Between the late 1940s and the early 1970s thousands of people arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.

The nickname given to the immigrants stems from the ship MV Empire Windrush, which transported a large number of Jamaicans to London in 1948.

They came at the invitation of the British government, which was facing a labour shortage in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Many of the immigrants settled in Southampton, where some still live.

Now a plaque honouring the Windrush generation has been unveiled near the stage door at the 02 Guildhall as part of Black History Month, which celebrates the part black people have played in the history of the city.

A separate plaque was installed in honour of Jamaican saxophonist Joe Harriott.

Often compared with American jazz legend Charlie Parker, Joe was one of several Caribbean musicians who arrived in the UK in the 1950s. He died of cancer, aged 44, on January 2 1973 and is buried in Bitterne churchyard.

The plaques were unveiled by Jamaican-born cricketer Norman Cowans, who played for Hampshire and lives in Southampton.

Black History Month was started by Carter Woodson in America in 1926 and was first celebrated in the UK in 1987, but it was not until 2005 that it embraced Southampton.

Over the years several plaques honouring famous black people have been installed in the city.

One of them celebrates a visit reggae legend Bob Marley made to the now demolished Coach House Club in Swaythling in 1973. Another recalls the day Mohammed Ali opened a Fine Fare supermarket in Hedge End.

Yesterday’s ceremony at the 02 was attended by members of the Windrush generation.

Many arrived as children on their parents’ passports and never formally became British citizens. Earlier this year it emerged that some were facing deportation following a tightening of the immigration rules.

In April Amber Rudd, then Home Secretary, apologised for “appalling” treatment they had received from the government.

She said: “The Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and sometimes loses sight of the individual.”

Ms Rudd announced the creation of a new team tasked with helping long-term UK residents born in the Commonwealth prove they are entitled to stay.