Ladbroke Grove has a proud history of community action and has been a Front Line for social justice and racial equality for many years influencing mainstream culture and society here and around the world.
The Grove is a place and a culture, where people with different backgrounds and ethnicity, originally predominantly black & white live together and have welcomed each other into their communities. Overcoming Hard Times they created an area and a way of life that is much loved and valued.
In the 1950's many streets were Ghetto Slums with terrible living conditions, social tensions were high which culminated in 1958 with the race riots and the murder of Kelso Cochrane in 1959.
People wanted change and took it upon themselves to improve life in the area by providing for the needs of the community where local authority and Government failed to do so.
We hold a legacy to celebrate and be proud of; North Kensington Amenity Trust, Meanwhile Gardens, Notting Hill Housing Trust, buildings that were saved, such as the Tabernacle, the Electric Cinema, spaces opened to the public, like Powis Square and the Venture Centre and of course Carnival.
But for too long, many of us have been resting on the laurels of what this community before us achieved. We take for granted, do not appreciate, nor give credit to the struggles which benefit us today.
Carnival, depicted by crime statistics in the media, treated like a war zone by police and taken over by the council has actually done more for social cohesion in Ladbroke Grove than anything local authorities or the police have ever or will ever achieve.
The cool Grove scene, with its rich vibrant culture and social cohesian, that has made the area a highly desirable place to live, required people working through and developing an understanding of each other that was different from commonly viewed perceptions or stereotypes.
Landlords have always been at the heart of the problems in the area, and now we see more than ever a disregard for people living here. People unhappy about the changes going on in the area have let their feelings simmer along, not knowing what or if there is anything anyone can do.
But we are at a critical moment in time, changes to the area threaten this community's whole way of life forever. Thankfully the bareface appropriation of this community's assets - that keep our community alive, have been brought to our wide attention by a New Wave of grass-roots activity, hugely re-galvanised by the community action group, Westway23.
Westway23's creative artistic energy has brought this community together and has seen the biggest power shift and move towards community emphasis on the 23 acres of land under the A40 motorway, since it was originally held in trust for the community over 50 years ago.
By scrutinising decades of Westway Trust mismanagment and disservice to the local community, Wesway23 is importantly reconnecting people with our local history; as when showing to a public meeting attended by over 300 people at the Tabernacle in 2015, the film of the late Anthony Perry, 1st Directory of the Trust - speaking to this community.
Grove is not dead, there is now a New Community standing up after Grenfell, of people who are active and fully engaged to rebuild our community. It is time to connect with and value our local history - we have been here before.
Peace and Love
Written by Jacob Rety.