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.

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