Interactive graphic shows history of Notting Hill Carnival


From humble beginnings in the 1960s when it was a way for Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their culture, the Notting Hill Carnival is now the largest street festival in Europe, Sarah Shaffi reports for London 24.

The two-day event takes place this year on August 25 and 26, over the bank holiday weekend.

The festival will feature 20 miles of vibrant colourful costumes, over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, and more than 40,000 volunteers who welcome more than 1million carnival-goers.

To celebrate the carnival has come up with an interactive graphic showing the history of the event, which you can access through the link below. (Scroll down to the end of the original story for access).

At the roots of the Notting Hill Carnival are the Caribbean carnivals of the early 19th century, which were all about celebrating the abolition of slavery and the slave trade and were a particularly strong tradition in Trinidad.

The very first carnival in 1964 was, according to the carnival’s website, an attempt to showcase the steel band musicians who played in the Earls Court of London every weekend. When the bands paraded through the streets of Notting Hill, they drew black residents out on to the streets, reminding them of the Caribbean homes they had left behind.

The carnival has been held on the August bank holiday weekend since 1966.

The event’s official website says: “In the days of abolition, there was a strong element of parody in the songs and dances Trinidadians performed. Having been forbidden to hold festivals of their own during the period of slavery, they now took full advantage of the relative new freedoms the ending of slavery brought them.

“Dressing up in costumes that mimicked the European fashions of their former masters, even whitening their faces with flour or wearing white masks, they established a tradition that continues in the costume-making of today’s Notting Hill Carnival.

“The proper name for this aspect of the Carnival is Mas (derived from Masquerade).”

Transport for London is encouraging Carnival-goers, motorists and passengers to visit its dedicated Carnival webpage for details on how transport services will run during London’s busiest annual event.

Motorists are advised to avoid driving in the Notting Hill area across the whole weekend due to a number of road closures, see here for details.

On the Tube the Central Line will be operating but some stations will be closed or exit only due to high demand, so passengers are encouraged to consider walking part of their journey to and from Notting Hill Carnival.

For the original report go to

2 thoughts on “Interactive graphic shows history of Notting Hill Carnival

  1. Please note It is an apt moment to remember Claudia Jones who, among many other achievements, established the carnival in 1959 as a celebration of West Indian cultural expression and a continuing rejection of the racism that caused the first Notting Hill Riots in 1958. Unfortunately, the history section of the carnival’s official website does not mention her. Here is a short clip from Nia Reynolds’ film ‘Looking for Claudia Jones’


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