Campaigners are calling on the government to retrieve the anchor from the shipwrecked HMT Empire Windrush to turn it into a monument honouring the Windrush generation.
The ship famously brought over some of the first Caribbean migrants to Britain when it arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948.
Its name became synonymous with an entire generation of immigrants who came over the course of 23 years.
Patrick Vernon OBE, who is leading the campaign, says with recent debate about the significance of statues, now is the time for a monument celebrating the achievements and contributions of those who moved to Britain.
“In Britain there are hardly any monuments acknowledging the contribution of the Windrush generation and migration to Britain,” he told Sky News.
“We have more memorials about slave traders, and cats and dogs than about our experience.”
“It would be a powerful symbol celebrating the Windrush generation, multicultural secular Britain, and the importance of migration to Britain today.”
The Windrush generation were invited to the UK to fill jobs, including in the NHS and on public transport, but many faced prejudice and discrimination.
Decades later, some were incorrectly deported and detained as part of the Windrush scandal – incorrectly accused of being in Britain illegally.
HMT Empire Windrush, which began life as a German cruise liner, became a Nazi troopship before being taken by Britain after the Second World War.
It sank in the Mediterranean off the coast of Algeria in 1954. Retrieving the anchor from the shipwreck would be costly.
Arthur Torrington, who co-founded the Windrush Foundation charity, believes the money would be better spent elsewhere.
“It could be given to the Black Cultural Archives, which is an organisation in Brixton, for them to do the work of educating our younger generation, getting them to understand the ship and the journey their ancestors made. In that sense [the money] is better off that way [being used] for educational purposes”.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched a new cross-government working group to address challenges and “right the wrongs” faced by the Windrush generation and their families.
It comes after an independent review found the Home Office demonstrated “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness” during the Windrush scandal.