It’s the August bank holiday weekend in London and that means only one thing: Notting Hill Carnival. Running since the mid-sixties, it is the largest street party in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. In recent years, over a million people have descended onto the streets of west London, in an explosion of colour, costumes, community, music and good vibes. Led by the West Indian community of London and attracting performers from all over, the Carnival is a melting pot of creativity, collaboration and hedonism.

Yet despite all of the interest, excitement and contributions to this great event, its history has been hotly debated for many years and its beginnings are shrouded in mystery. No-one has attempted to put its history together…until now. The independent publishing company Rice N Peas has published a book entitled Carnival: A Photographic and Testimonial History of the Notting Hill Carnival. The authors Ishmahil Blagrove Jr. and Margaret Busby explore the origins of Notting Hill Carnival and have compiled the first essential history of the event.

To illustrate the book they have compiled a wonderful array of photographs that capture the uniquely vibrant, colourful and multi-cultural experience of Notting Hill Carnival. The majority of photographs were taken by Allan “Capitan” Thornhill, who had been shooting the event from its beginning right up to the modern era. The result is a fascinating book that really does justice to the complex, interesting and exuberant history and culture of one of our favourite events in the London calendar. Here’s to the next 50 years!

Source: It’s Nice That

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