meets the mother of the Carnival - review by Jane O'Grady

Jane O'Grady

Hamblecha of Notting Hill

meets the mother of the Carnival

 

‘You're still the oldest Mrs Hippy in town.’ Rhaune Laslett was being greeted at the Notting Hill Carnival, which she herself started in 1965, by a couple she had not seen for over 20 years. She had helped rehouse them and their baby, who now towered over her, during the time when she ran an advice bureau for Notting Hill’s inhabitants to help with housing, legal and other problems. She also initiated the London Free School, created ‘the most beautiful playground ever made’, and brought up two children.

Rhaune remembers the Notting Hill race riots in the ’50s, ‘the taste of fear in the air’, people hurrying home in the evenings from the Westbourne Park tube avoiding each other’s eyes, teddy boys coming into the area in trucks with crates of milk bottles to use as missiles, black

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