Windrush Day: Meet Siggy Cragwell, 83, Thameslink’s oldest employee who came from Barbados to London in 1962

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Siggy Cragwell, 83, wakes up at 4am every day to do the 6-11am shift as a station assistant at Elstree & Borehamwood.

Windrush Day commemorates the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in Britain, with more than 800 passengers from the Caribbean on board - the ‘Windrush generation’.

The event pays tribute to the thousands of people who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sigill “Siggy” Cragwell, 83, is one of the many, who made the journey to the UK during this period.

Siggy Cragwell is currently Thameslink’s oldest worker Siggy Cragwell is currently Thameslink’s oldest worker
Siggy Cragwell is currently Thameslink’s oldest worker | Credit: Thameslink

Siggy travelled from Barbados to London in 1962 to work on the railways at the age of 23.

61 years later he is currently Thameslink’s oldest employee, working in customer services at Elstree & Borehamwood Station.

“I arrived in Southampton on March 7, 1962, and started work in London the following day,” Siggy told LondonWorld.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He began working at Marylebone station cleaning the steam engines and was soon promoted to supervisor at the depot.

His railway career then took him to Cricklewood Depot, Bedford station, Luton railway stores and St Albans City station before arriving at Elstree & Borehamwood in 2002.

Siggy wakes up at 4am to do the 6-11am shift as a station assistant at Elstree & Borehamwood, before venturing to the gym to practise Tai Chi and Taekwondo which allows him to keep himself fit for his main sporting love: cricket.

Siggy, who now lives in Hampstead, has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards for his exceptional commitment to the railway.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last year he was a guest of honour at the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument in London Waterloo station, alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate.

“I love the people I work with,” he said.

“I now work in customer service which is best for me as I’m seeing people, talking to people and they’re usually looking for me which I like.”

Will he ever retire?

“I retired once when I was 65 but came back to work four weeks later.

“I was never a pub man, a smoker or a betting shop man so there was nothing for me to do.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I play a lot of cricket, sometimes three times a week, and I think if I can do that I can work.

“I can’t sit at home and do nothing.”

Thameslink’s customer services director, Jenny Saunders, said: “Siggy is an absolute legend and loved by all of us and his customers.

“It’s typical of his generosity that he should want to share some of his lifetime of memories with the next generation.”

Siggy met Prince William at the unveiling of the Windrush monumentSiggy met Prince William at the unveiling of the Windrush monument
Siggy met Prince William at the unveiling of the Windrush monument | Credit: Thameslink

This year’s Windrush Day marks 75 years since the arrival of the Windrush, and there are many events honouring the occasion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In 2018, the Windrush scandal came to light, which saw at least 83 British-Caribbeans wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

It was the Windrush Scandal which intensified the campaign for Windrush Day to be recognised, and the first official Windrush Day was held in 2018.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.