Mangrove restaurant

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The Mangrove was a Caribbean restaurant located at 8 All Saints Road, Notting Hill, west London. It was opened in 1968 by Trinidadian community activist and civil rights campaigner Frank Crichlow.[1] Like the El Rio before it — a coffee bar run by Crichlow at 127 Westbourne Park Road in the early 1960s that attracted attention in the Profumo affair, as one of the places frequented by Christine Keeler[2] and Stephen Ward — the Mangrove was a meeting place for the black community in the area, as well as for white radicals, artists, authors, and musicians.[3] Famous customers included Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, C. L. R. James, Lionel Morrison, Vanessa Redgrave, Colin MacInnes, Richard Neville and Tony Gifford.[3][2] A small newspaper, The Hustler, was published on the premises, underlining the community aspect of the restaurant,[3] which also served as an informal head office for the Notting Hill Carnival.[4]

The Mangrove Nine[edit]

In 1969 the Mangrove restaurant became the target of police attention that seemed designed to close it down. Robin Bunce and Paul Field write in The Independent that it was raided 12 times between January 1969 and July 1970,[3] and in August that year a protest march was organized demanding "hands off the Mangrove". The protest ended in violence and the arrests of nine protesters (the "Mangrove Nine"), including Crichlow and Darcus Howe, on charges that included conspiracy to incite a riot. Their celebrated trial in 1971 — which featured an unsuccessful demand by Howe for an all-black jury — ended with the acquittal of all nine on the incitement charges, and five of the nine, including Crichlow and Howe, on all charges.[5] Bunce and Field write that the Mangrove Nine "turned the fight against police racism into a cause célèbre."[6]

A documentary film, The Mangrove Nine (directed by Franco Rosso, produced by Rosso and John La Rose, with Horace Ové as associate producer, and scripted by La Rose),[7] was made in 1973, and includes interviews with the defendants recorded before the final verdicts.[8]

Closure[edit]

Rapid gentrification of the restaurant's neighbourhood in the 1980s once more led to increased police pressure.[4] The restaurant was raided twice in 1988, once by 48 police officers in riot gear, and Crichlow was charged with supplying heroin and cannabis, despite being known locally for his strong anti-drug stance. Crichlow, who was prohibited from going near the restaurant for a year, alleged that the police themselves had planted the drugs.[9] He was acquitted of all charges after the year was over, and in 1992 the Metropolitan Police paid him damages of £50,000 for false imprisonment, battery and malicious prosecution.[4][9] But both his year-long absence and changes in economic conditions had caused the restaurant to fail.[9] By 1992, it was closed, and the premises boarded up.[9] The Rum Kitchen, one of a chain of Caribbean-themed restaurants, now operates from the Mangrove's former address, outside which a heritage blue plaque to honour Frank Crichlow was unveiled on 4 December 2011 by Jak Beula's Nubian Jak Community Trust.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jasper, Lee, "Obituary: Frank Crichlow, founder of Mangrove Community Association", OBV, 17 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b Busby, Margaret, "Frank Crichlow obituary", The Guardian, 26 September 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Bunce, Robin, and Paul Field,"Frank Critchlow: Community leader who made the Mangrove Restaurant the beating heart of Notting Hill", The Independent, 23 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Abner Cohen (1993). Masquerade Politics: Explorations in the Structure of Urban Cultural Movements. University of California Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-520-07838-3. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Mangrove Trial is over with Five acquitted and Four on suspended sentences", 7 Days, 22 December 1971.
  6. ^ Bunce, Robert, and Paul Field, "Mangrove Nine: the court challenge against police racism in Notting Hill", The Guardian, 29 November 2010.
  7. ^ "The Mangrove Nine (1973): Full Cast & Crew", IMDb.
  8. ^ "Mangrove Nine", Black History Month.
  9. ^ a b c d Mills, Heather, "Restaurant that became a symbol for radicalism", The Independent, 13 October 1992.
  10. ^ "KCTMO supports blue plaque honouring Frank Crichlow", 1 December 2011.

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′3″N 0°12′12″W / 51.51750°N 0.20333°W / 51.51750; -0.20333