The Mangrove

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Mangrove restaurant
Restaurant information
Established1968
Closed1992
Owner(s)The Rum Kitchen
Previous owner(s)Frank Crichlow
Food typeCaribbean
Street address8 All Saints Road, Notting Hill
CityWest London
CountryUnited Kingdom

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, Norman Beaton, 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, Altheia Jones-LeCointe and Darcus Howe, on charges that included conspiracy to incite a riot.[5] 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.[6] Bunce and Field write that the Mangrove Nine "turned the fight against police racism into a cause célèbre."[7]

A documentary film, The Mangrove Nine (directed and co-produced by Franco Rosso, John La Rose co-produced and scripted it, and Horace Ové was an associate producer),[8] was made in 1973, and includes interviews with the defendants recorded before the final verdicts.[9] A 2020 BBC drama Mangrove, part of the Small Axe miniseries, is directed by Bafta- and Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen.[10][11]

Closure[edit]

8 All Saints Road in 2013, with a blue plaque commemorating Frank Crichlow's foundation of The Mangrove at the address

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. Held in custody for five weeks before being granted bail on conditions that prohibited him from going near the restaurant for a year,[2] Crichlow alleged that the police themselves had planted the drugs.[12] 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][12] But both his year-long absence and changes in economic conditions had caused the restaurant to fail.[12] By 1992, it was closed, and the premises boarded up.[12] The Little Yellow Door, a late-night cocktail bar and restaurant, now operates from the Mangrove's former address, outside which a blue plaque to honour Crichlow was unveiled on 4 December 2011 by the Nubian Jak Community Trust.[13]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jasper, Lee (17 September 2010). "Obituary: Frank Crichlow, founder of Mangrove Community Association". Operation Black Vote. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c Busby, Margaret (26 September 2010). "Frank Crichlow obituary". The Guardian. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d Bunce, Robin; Paul Field (23 September 2010). "Frank Critchlow: Community leader who made the Mangrove Restaurant the beating heart of Notting Hill". The Independent.
  4. ^ a b c Cohen, Abner (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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Black Britannia: Today's Anti-Racist Movement Must Remember Britain's Black Radical History". Novara Media. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  6. ^ "The Mangrove Trial is over with Five acquitted and Four on suspended sentences" (PDF). 7 Days. 22 December 1971.
  7. ^ Bunce, Robin; Paul Field (29 November 2010). "Mangrove Nine: the court challenge against police racism in Notting Hill". The Guardian.
  8. ^ The Mangrove Nine (1973) at IMDb
  9. ^ "Mangrove Nine". Black History Month UK. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Jones, Ellen (15 November 2020). "Small Axe review – Steve McQueen triumphs with tales of Britain's Caribbean history". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  11. ^ Salmon, Caspar (19 November 2020). "Why Mangrove succeeds where The Trial of the Chicago 7 fails". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Mills, Heather (13 October 1992). "Restaurant that became a symbol for radicalism". The Independent.
  13. ^ Davis, Lizabeth (6 December 2011). "Mangrove Founder Honoured". The Voice.

Further reading[edit]

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