The History of Notting Hill Carnival

[Taveena Atsu | Features Sub Editor]

You might not have heard about Notting Hill Carnival but if you’re a Londoner like me it’s a time for you to drink, eat delicious food, and dance on the street throughout the bank holiday weekend every August, this year it’ll be on the 30th and 31st. However, originally politically motivated, the Carnival has a history not many know about.

Notting Hill Carnival is arguably the biggest street party in London, nowadays, that is all it’s seen as. When reported about in the media, you’ll hear about the food stands, how loud the music is and probably the amount of stabbings or fights that happened.

Notting Hill Carnival was started by a Claudia Jones, a lady born in Trinidad who was originally a journalist and feminist amongst other titles. She also spoke at and ran political events, with the aim to stand up for black civil rights. Although she suffered from heart and lung disease, after moving to England she still campaigned for various different causes.

Caribbean soldiers and others who had helped out during the war were called back to help rebuild the country. However, this led to a lot of racial tension from many of the people who had been living in England before the migrants arrived; especially when it came to housing and employment. The Notting Hill race riots of 1958 had begun.

Kelso Cochrane, a carpenter born in Antigua had been murdered because of his race. This led to rallies by The British Communist party, and hall parties in Notting Hill in an attempt to create solidarity between the people in the community. Originally, the party was held in January but due to the cold weather was moved August and celebrated outside. Jones used the proceeds from Notting Hill Carnival to assist in paying for the damage caused by both black and white people during the riots.

Although probably no match to the original Trinidadian Carnival, there’s no doubt that Notting Hill Carnival oozes Caribbean culture. Visit for more info, and let us know if you’re going to be there!

#Carnival #Events #NottingHill #summer

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