30 Years
HomeMemorial Stansted Airport
The first plane carrying British-Asian evacuees from Uganda landed at Stansted Airport, north east of London, UK, on 19th September 1972. In the three months leading to Idi Amin's deadline on the 9th November, some 22,000 men women and children streamed into Stansted. Clutching whatever possessions they had been able to bring with them they were moved to the resettlement camps dotted around greater London. Even today, receiving 22,000 evacuees in three months would be a big operation!

As one of the projects of the 25th anniversary, a memorial was planned to mark the passage of these people through Stansted on their way to the makeshift resettlement camps. It would also have been a tribute to the magnificent humanitarian effort of the Red Cross, the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and other charitable organizations. The dozens of volunteers who lived near the resettlement camps and cared for the inhabitants for months would also have been honoured.

Hasu Manek and John de Souza spent many hours investigating the possibility of a monument at Stansted Airport. A tall sculptured monument on one of the roundabouts in the approach to the airport was considered; large wall murals inside the main airport and in the arrival lounge were also options.

Staff at the British Airways Authority (BAA) were open to the idea of a memorial and were helpful in our research of the site. They even came up with some suggestions of their own which would have contributed to the brand of the airport.

However after much deliberation and long discussions we arrived at the conclusion that the project would not easily achieve the visibility we had in mind. Besides it was complex – design, installation, maintenance, insurance, legal contracts – and not financially justifiable and sustainable.