Notting Hill Carnival in London

April 28th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Events

© Romazur/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Romazur/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that has taken place since 1966 on the streets of Notting Hill, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, each August over two days (the August bank holiday Monday and the preceding Sunday). It is led by members of the British West Indian community, and attracts around one million people annually, making it one of the world’s largest street festivals (others are the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin and the Summer Carnival in Rotterdam), and a significant event in British culture. In 2006, the UK public voted it onto the list of icons of England. Despite its name, it is not part of the global Carnival season preceding Lent. Professor David Dabydeen has stated: “Carnival is not alien to British culture. Bartholomew Fair and Southwark Fair in the 18th century were moments of great festivity and release. There was juggling, pickpocketing, whoring, drinking, masquerade — people dressed up as the Archbishop of Canterbury and indulged in vulgar acts. It allowed people a space to free-up but it was banned for moral reasons and for the antiauthoritarian behaviour that went on like stoning of constables. Carnival allowed people to dramatise their grievances against the authorities on the street… Notting Hill Carnival single-handedly revived this tradition and is a great contribution to British cultural life.” Bartholomew’s Fair was suppressed in 1855 by the City authorities for encouraging debauchery and public disorder. The roots of the Notting Hill Carnival that took shape in the mid-1960s come from two separate but connected strands. A “Caribbean Carnival” was held on 30 January 1959 in St Pancras Town Hall as a response to the problematic state of race relations at the time; the UK’s first widespread racial attacks, the Notting Hill race riots in which 108 people were charged, had occurred the previous year. The 1959 event, held indoors and televised by the BBC, was organised by the Trinidadian Claudia Jones (often described as “the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival”) in her capacity as editor of Britain’s first black newspaper The West Indian Gazette, and directed by Edric Connor; showcasing elements of a Caribbean carnival in a cabaret style, it “featured among other things the Mighty Terror singing the calypso ‘Carnival at St Pancras’, a Caribbean Carnival Queen beauty contest, the Trinidad All Stars and Hi–fi steel bands dance troupe and a Grand Finale Jump-Up by West Indians who attended the event.”   read more…

The Portobello Road in London

March 20th, 2013 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London

Portobello Road sign © Arnoprepa1/cc-by-sa-3.0

Portobello Road sign © Arnoprepa1/cc-by-sa-3.0

Portobello Road is a street in the Notting Hill district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London. It runs almost the length of Notting Hill from south to north, roughly parallel with Ladbroke Grove. Every August since 1996 the Portobello Film Festival has been held in locations around Portobello Road.   read more…

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