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Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival takes place in Notting Hill, London, England.

An annual event held each August, it's lead by the British Afro-Caribbean community[?] who moved to Notting Hill after World War II.

The carnival attracts 1.5 million people from Britain and around the world, making it the largest street festival in Europe, and one of the largest on the planet.

Carnival began in January 1959 in St Pancras Town Hall as a response to the depressing state of race relations at the time, which had seen widespread racial attacks the previous year. It was a huge success, despite being indoors.

It first moved outside and into August in 1965. In fact, the prime mover was Rhaune Laslett[?], who wasn't even aware of the indoor events when she first raised the idea. It was more a Notting Hill event than an Afro-Caribbean event, and around 1000 people turned out.

By 1976 the event had become definitely Caribbean in flavour, with around 150 000 people attending, but that year the carnival was marred by riots, as the youthful black population took out their frustration against the police - a target due to the continuous harassment the population were experiencing. It was a story repeated for several years, blown up into a major news story by the press, where there was a notable lack of racial tolerance. For a while it looked as if the carnival may be banned. Prince Charles was one of the few establishment figures who supported the event.

Fortunately the event is now free from serious trouble and a true multi-cultural experience, though dominated by the Afro-Caribbean culture in the best traditions of Rio.

See also

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