The Timeline: The Notting Hill Carnival

Mother of the Carnival, 1959

The precursor to the west London event revellers know and love was an indoor event held in St Pancras Town Hall. Organised in January 1959 by Claudia Jones, founder of the West Indian Gazette and so-called "mother of Notting Hill Carnival", it was intended as an uplifting response to the riots of the year before, when a crowd of 400 white men rampaged through the streets of Notting Hill, breaking into homes and businesses owned by the area's West Indian community. The violence had escalated over the course of the bank holiday, with the crowd swelling to 1,000, and continued for five nights.

Going west, 1965

By 1964, the year of Jones' death, the Carnival was a well-established event in the Anglo-Caribbean cultural calendar, but it had yet to take to the streets of Notting Hill. In 1965, community activist Rhaune Laslett was granted permission to hold a week-long summer fête, incorporating a range of ethnic groups including Ukranians, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish as well as Afro-Caribbeans. More than 1,000 people turned up to the event's closing parade – dwarfing Laslett's expectations. The Notting Hill Carnival proper was born.

Further unrest, 1976

Throughout its first decade of existence, the Notting Hill Carnival was a peaceful occasion. But the calm was broken in 1976, when 3,000 police officers were allocated to the event. Ten times the number of previous years, it was thought the extra security would be needed to handle existing tension over stop-and-search laws. According to police accounts, violence erupted after officers attempted to arrest a pickpocket, who was immediately defended by the surrounding crowds. More than 160 people were taken to hospital.

The Carnival Review, 2000

While Notting Hill had undergone a dramatic phase of gentrification, the carnival had managed to recover its reputation as an inclusive, celebratory event. But in 2000 it was hit by further setbacks following the murder of two youths. The then-London Mayor Ken Livingstone responded by establishing the Carnival Review Group. The following year an interim report proposed, among other measures, that Hyde Park be used as a "savannah" for the event, a change that has failed to materialise. The existing route was altered, and policing and stewardship were expanded.

Law and disorder, 2008

Seven years after Livingstone's changes, riots again marred the Carnival. There were clashes between visitors and the police on the event's final day. More than 300 arrests were made, raising fears that the Carnival might again become the site of violence. 2009 saw a decline in attendance, with one man injured in a stabbing, although organisers are hoping that this weekend's celebrations will be the first in a series of "pre-Olympic" Carnivals. In 2012, the Carnival will fall between the Olympic and Paralympic games, making it a focal point for tourists.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there