Carnival 1972-2006

April 21, 2021

Carnival is one of the archive collections held at the George Padmore Institute (GPI). The materials and documents mainly relate to the Notting Hill Carnival in London, but also to Carnival in the Caribbean and other parts of the world. Most of the collection was gifted by the GPI’s co-founder John La Rose, with material also coming from John’s son, Michael La Rose.

The collection has a focus on Michael La Rose and his brother Keith, who formed the People’s War Carnival Band in 1982 (which developed out of People's War Sound System (1975-1983)). Both were also very active in setting up organisations such as the Association for a People's Carnival (APC) and the Notting Hill International Carnival Committee. These were created in Autumn 1989 in response to the organisation and policing of the Carnival in 1989. The collection also holds material on an earlier band, Lion Youth, set up in 1977.

Another section of the archive collection includes wide-ranging material on the politics, history, art and culture of Carnival, especially in Trinidad. There is information on the musical forms that developed with Carnival, especially steel band, pan music, Calypso and Kaiso. Academic and journalistic articles as well as political publications are also held.

Visit the Carnival catalogue where you’ll find more details of the collection including administrative documentation of the organisations mentioned above, minutes of meetings and correspondence, also general publicity such as flyers, programmes and invitations for bands, conferences and talks. The archive even has a costume from a Carnival band. There is a wealth of history to discover, which has been carefully conserved by the GPI for 30 years.

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Image of a flyer for the Notting Hill Carnival, August 1983
People's War Carnival Band Flyer for Notting Hill Carnival, Aug. 1983.