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The History of Notting Hill Carnival

The History of Notting Hill Carnival

As the last weekend of August approaches our Notting Hill Carnival preparations are looking slightly different this year. For the first time in the festival's nearly 60 year history, the parade has been cancelled, and events have been reimagined for us to enjoy digitally at home. Carnival is no stranger to adversity though and has proved once again no obstacle put in its path can stop the celebrations. Here we’ll outline a little bit about the origins of NHC and take the chance to have a nostalgic look back over our favourite photos through the decades from one of the world’s largest street parties.   

NHC’s roots can be found in festivals set up in the 50’s aimed to acknowledge and celebrate London’s immigrant population at a time where signs saying ‘No blacks. No dogs. No Irish.’ was in common use. One particular incident that occurred in 1958 was a group of white men that witnessed an argument between an interracial couple leading to Notting Hill being gripped by racially motivated violence. Attacks occurred every day from the 29th August to the 5th September with groups of white nationalists throwing firebombs at houses they believed belonged to Black residents. 


Directly influenced by these events, Claudia Jones, the infamous Trinidadian mother of Caribbean carnival in Britain, held an indoor festival in 1959 as a place for the black diaspora to celebrate their culture. 

Leading on from this the first NHC was set up by community leader, Rhone Laslett, in 1966 showcasing live music and food stalls from the different cultures that made up the local community. Laslett was of Native American and Russian descent and wanted to celebrate the diverse cultural scene that is Notting Hill. 

Carnival has always had a distinctly Caribbean flavour with celebrations blending together elements from traditional festivities across all the islands. It has also become an iconic British event, being voted onto the list of UK highlights in 2006. The melting pot of cultures and influences, that is so typically London, makes NHC an amazingly unique event and we can’t wait to be back on that parade route for many years to come. Now for some of the carnivals best photos through the decades, prepare for some serious carnival house party outfit inspiration!  

Check out Notting Hill Carnivals digital line-up below. If you want to get the party started early - be sure to check out Kionii’s own carnival playlist available on Spotify here. 

Carnival Warm-Up
Steelpan Show & Calypso & Groovy Soca
Channel 1: Saturday 29 August 6 pm - Midnight 

Carnival Culture 
Channel 1: Saturday 29 August 9am - 12pm 

Parade Channel
Channel 2: Sunday 30 & Monday 31 August 12pm - 8pm 

Sound System Channel
Channel 3: Sunday 30 & Monday 31 August 12pm - 8pm

Main Stage Channel
Channel 4: Sunday 30 & Monday 31 August 8pm - 11pm

For access to the video channels please head over to Lets Go Do and sign up.



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