Notting Hill Riots 1958
- Date start:
- 30 Aug 1958
- Date end:
- 05 Sep 1958
Increasing numbers of Caribbean migrants arrived in London after the Second World War. By 1961 there were over 100,000 Caribbean people living in London.
Caribbean migrants often found homes in areas of slum or poor housing. One of these areas was Notting Hill in North Kensington. During the 1950s, a strong Caribbean community had grown up in Notting Hill, many from Trinidad and Barbados.
At that time poverty, rootlessness, violence and crime were a part of life in North Kensington. Poor white families competed with poor Caribbeans for housing, a situation that was often exploited by unscrupulous landlords.
From the early 1950s, young White working-class 'Teddy Boys' began to turn hostile towards the growing numbers of Black families in the area. Right-wing groups exploited the situation. Fascist groups such as the Union for British Freedom set up branches in the district. Sir Oswald Mosely, founder of the pre-war British Union of Fascists, held street-corner meetings in west London and further afield. Leaflets and wall slogans urged 'Keep Britain White'.
During the summer of 1958, gangs of Teddy Boys became increasingly open about their aggressive intentions toward anyone who was Black. Youths smashed Caribbean cafs. Individuals were harassed. On the morning of 24 August, nine White youths assaulted five Black men in separate incidents in Shepherd's Bush and Notting Hill, seriously injuring three of them.
After two weeks of civil unrest in Nottingham, rioting erupted in Notting Hill. It began at around midnight on 30 August and lasted a week. Crowds of up to 400 white youths chased Caribbeans in North Kensington. Petrol bombs and milk bottles were thrown at houses. Trouble spread to Paddington, Notting Dale, Shepherd's Bush and Marylebone. Some of the rioters came from as far away as White City, Tottenham and Acton. The police eventually reasserted control and the disorder died out on 5 September.
Some 140 people were arrested, largely White, but including some of the Black victims who had armed themselves in self-defence. The nation generally was shocked at the events and the riots sparked long-running debates about racial prejudice, community harmony and the scale of commonwealth immigration in the inner cities.
Although the rioting calmed down, racial ill-feeling continued to simmer in North Kensington. In May 1959, a carpenter from Antigua, Kelso Cochrane, was stabbed to death in Kensal New Town by a gang of white men. The Notting Hill Carnival is thought to have started as a gesture of defiance following the Cochrane murder, and an assertion of community pride.
What are these?
Social Bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser. Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice. Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking.