1945 – 1956

Post War Period I: The Olympics;
Pioneers of the West Indian Community

At the time of the 1948 Wembley Olympics, Eddie Adams recalls competing in a bombsite boys’ Olympics around the V1 crater on Westbourne Park Road: ‘The doodlebug V1 rocket dropped in 1944 on the site bordered by Westbourne Park Road and Clydesdale Road. By 1948 this area was covered with debris. At one end there was a hill of rubble. The Olympics of 1948 caught the imagination of us local children and we decided to stage our own mini-Olympics. This included tossing the hammer – a brick on the end of a piece of a rope and throwing the javelin made out of a piece of scrap piping from the hill, and a number of races around the block. This involved running through Portobello Road market to the astonishment of the stallholders who wondered what the hell was going on. I think if I remember correctly we also played street football.’

When the RAF veteran Baron Baker first arrived in Notting Hill, after an unsuccessful flat-hunting expedition around Paddington ‘No Blacks’ landladies, he found the only place he could get served was the public bar of the Apollo pub at 18 All Saints Road.

Black sailors he met there directed him round the corner to the Tavistock Road lodging-house of Mrs Fisher, who Baron cited as the first Notting Hill landlady to rent to black people. Around the same time the writer Sam Selvon moved into a Colville basement, where he was joined by the rest of the Caribbean Artists Movement.

Through such pioneers a West Indian community sprang up in the area around Powis Square, formerly the ‘Little India’ Asian student quarter.

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