In response to the racist violence and riots that swept through Britain in the summer of 1958 – and in particular Notting Hill and Nottingham – Trinidad-born activist and West Indian Gazette founder Claudia Jones started an annual indoor Caribbean carnival. The first of which was held in January 1959 and televised by the BBC, subtitled ‘A people's art is the genesis of their freedom’.
The celebrations brought together artists, activists, writers and community leaders. The programme for the 1960 carnival included calypso from Lord Kitchener, a turn by actor and television star Cy Grant and a beauty pageant. The judges of the Carnival Queen Contest included the novelists Samuel Selvon and George Lamming.
In her foreword to this souvenir brochure, Claudia Jones writes that ‘our Carnival [symbolizes] the unity of our people resident here and of all our many friends who love the West Indies’.