A Home from Home: Notting Hill since the 1950s

Two men and three women
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  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • Full Price: £8.00 Member: Free Other concessions available

London’s ever-changing West side neighbourhood.

This event takes place in the British Library Theatre and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up.  In person ticket bookers will also be sent a bonus link to the online event. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

Paddington Bear was brought to life in the Spring of 1957 by author Michael Bond, while he and his wife lived in a small flat in Notting Hill. The bear was a migrant who settled into an area that was already the home of many other incomers, and many of his adventures are set around Portobello Road market and the surrounding streets. Despite Paddington’s warm welcome with the Brown family, the late 1950s were a time of unease in Notting Hill, with widespread poverty and spells of tension and violence between communities. Although much changed today, but still eclectic and inspiring, the area celebrates its rich mix of cultures.

Broadcaster and writer Robert Elms, who grew up in Ladbroke Grove, is joined by guests including artist, educator and carnivalist Linett Kamala and author and former politician Alan Johnson, who documented his early years in North Kensington in This Boy.

The conversation in the British Library Theatre will be followed by Late at the Library: London is the Place for Me featuring Tobago and D’Lime which also includes access to our Paddington exhibition. You can buy tickets to include entry to both events or for each event separately.

Robert Elms is a broadcaster and writer, well-loved for his eponymous radio show on BBC Radio London. Elms started out as a journalist, writing for The Face and NME. He is a Londoner through and through, growing up in West London and living in the city for most of his life. He is the author of In Search of the Crack (1988) The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads (2005) and London Made Us: A Memoir of a Shape-Shifting City (2020)

Alan Johnson was born in May 1950. He was a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Johnson was the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle until his retirement from politics in 2017. His first book, This Boy, won the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Orwell Prize in 2013. His second, Please Mister Postman, won the National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year in 2014. His third, The Long and Winding Road, was published in 2016. He has also written In My Life: A Music Memoir (2019) and the thriller The Late Train to Gipsy Hill.

Linett Kamala was born to parents who moved to Notting Hill from Jamaica in the 1950s. She is an interdisciplinary artist who draws inspiration from calligraphy, Carnival culture, graffiti, music and abstract expressionism and has also had a long career as an educator, facilitating leadership programmes that teachers, staff and students achieve excellence in schools facing significant challenges. Linett was one of the first female DJs to perform at the Notting Hill Carnival and she remains active with her Disya Jeneration to this day. Kamala is Director of Lin Kam Art, Board Director for the Notting Hill Carnival, President of University of the Arts London Alumni of Colour Association and Member of Somerset House Exchange

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Click here to find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely

The event accompanies the British Library exhibition Paddington: The Story of a Bear, open in the PACCAR Gallery until 31 October.

Travel partner: Great Western Railway

GWR - Great Western Railway

Photography by Norman McCaskill, who documented Portobello Road and other areas of London in the 1950s. Reproduced with permission. For more information visit www.rookgallery.co.uk

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Name: A Home from Home: Notting Hill since the 1950s
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Member: £0.00
Student: £4.00
Registered Unemployed: £4.00
Disabled: £4.00
Online Full Price: £0.00
Senior (60+): £7.00
Full Price including Late at the Library: £16.00
Senior (60+) including Late at the Library: £14.00
Student including Late at the Library: £8.00
Registered unemployed including Late at the Library: £8.00
Disabled including Late at the Library: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
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