London

Plaques honour 'first ladies' of Notting Hill Carnival

Plaques for Claudia Jones and Rhaune Laslett O'Brien
Image caption The plaques will be on the corner of Tavistock Square and Portobello Road

Two commemorative plaques have been unveiled to honour the 'first ladies' of Notting Hill Carnival.

Claudia Jones and Rhaune Laslett-O'Brien were two of the most influential figures in establishing an annual street party celebrating Caribbean culture in west London during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The plaques are on the corner of Tavistock Square and Portobello Road.

Notting Hill Carnival is now the largest street festival in Europe.

Claudia Jones, who was born in Trinidad in 1919, started Britain's first Caribbean carnival in 1959.

Ms Jones organised a similar event every year until her death in 1964.

Community champion

Rhaune Laslett-O'Brien was born in 1919 and lived for most of her life in and around west London.

Notting Hill rapidly became one of London's most diverse districts after World War II and she became a community champion, fighting for better housing and helping the poor.

Ms Laslett-O'Brien introduced a week-long Notting Hill street festival in 1965 to celebrate the different cultural backgrounds of local residents.

She continued to be involved with the organisation of the event until the early 1970s and her event is now the modern-day Notting Hill Carnival.

Among the supporters of the plaques are the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Notting Hill Carnival Limited.

Sir Merrick Cockell, leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: "For nearly half a century, Notting Hill Carnival has been a major event, not just for black Britons, but Britain as a whole.

"It makes complete sense to recognise the key people in its creation."

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