Letter: Start of the carnival

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Deborah Orr writes ("It's Notting Hill, but not as I know it", 20 May) that the Notting Hill Carnival was started in 1968 in response to massive racial unrest.

It was in fact started then by an Irish mother to entertain the many deprived tiny tots, mainly Irish and Caribbean, who could not afford to go away from Notting Hill on holiday.

Because of the race riots 10 years earlier Notting Hill was synonymous in the world outside with racial unrest; but in 1968 those who worked in social care there, myself among them, agreed that the odd thing was that, while we discussed together every local social problem under the sun, "race" was in itself not one of them.


Biarritz, France