Notting Hill Gate leads up to the peak of Notting Hill. Many events and places are associated with this area, Portabello Road, films, books and of course probably the largest event of the year: The Notting Hill Carnival.
The famous carnival, held every year during August Bank Holiday weekend, first held its doors open at the Town Hall in St Pancras in January 1959 as a response to the race riots in 1957. It was organised by Trinidadian Clauida Jones, editor of the West Indian Gazette. A few years later in 1966 a festival was held in Notting Hill to promote cultural unity, eventually it turned into the massive festivity it is today with more than one million visitors over two days.
I had a landlady once who told me about how back in the days when it used to be a small festival on the streets and how she used to join in at the back of the carnival parade and dance along the streets. These days it’s enormously massive and unfortunately when there are crowds of people there is the danger that comes with it. Another friend’s family used to own a corner shop in the area where a murder took place just outside the shop and she still vividly remember her mother cleaning blood from the pavement outside the shop in the midst of all the festivities. However, increased police presence and crime prevention has render Carnival somewhat safer.
The extra bit: The film ‘Notting Hill’ because Hugh Grant can be so charming and Julia Roberts gorgeous no matter what she does.
Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite N street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.
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