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Frank Crichlow

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Frank Crichlow

Frank Crichlow httpsiguimcoukimgstaticsysimagesGuardia

Lenora Crichlow, Amandla Crichlow, Francesca Crichlow, Knowlton Crichlow

13 July 1932 (age 78) Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

15 September 2010 (aged 78) London, England

Darcus Howe, Lenora Crichlow, Olive Morris

Mangrove nine 1970 s darcus howe frank crichlow etc

Frank Gilbert Crichlow (13 July 1932 – 15 September 2010) was a British community activist and civil rights campaigner, who became known in 1960s London as a godfather of black radicalism. He was a central figure in the Notting Hill Carnival, his restaurant the Mangrove serving for many years as the base from which activists, musicians and artists organised the event, as well as becoming "the symbol of resistance to police persecution".


Frank Crichlow BBC Barling39s London Remembering one of London39s civil

Fowokan at the funeral of frank crichlow part one


Originally from Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Frank Crichlow arrived in England in June 1953 on the SS Colombie, among the first wave of post-war immigrants from the Caribbean. He lived in Paddington at first, working for British Rail, then formed the Starlight Four band in 1956. Margaret Busby writes in The Guardian that the band had a few television and radio appearances, which in 1959 gave Crichlow enough money to open the El Rio cafe in Notting Hill at 127 Westbourne Park Road. The cafe became a fashionable meeting place, with Christine Keeler and John Profumo as customers, and provided a safe place for black people to meet. Crichlow described it as a school or university for hustlers.

In 1968 he opened the Mangrove restaurant at 8 All Saints Road, Notting Hill, attracting both unwelcome police attention and celebrity visitors such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Vanessa Redgrave, and Sammy Davis Jr. The restaurant was raided six times in the first year, though nothing was found. Crichlow, Darcus Howe, and several others marched on the police station in 1970 in protest against the constant police attention. Charged with incitement to riot, the Mangrove Nine, as they became known, were acquitted during a celebrated trial that lasted 55 days in 1971, and which involved Howe unsuccessfully demanding an all-black jury. Crichlow called the trial "a turning point for black people."

Frank Crichlow Frank Crichlow Standing tall against racism Socialist

He went on to form the Mangrove Community Association to improve housing and services for ex-offenders, drug addicts, and alcoholics. He was also a central figure in the Notting Hill Carnival; his restaurant served for many years as the base from which activists, musicians and artists organised the event.

Despite being well-known locally for his anti-drug stance—Heather Mills writes in The Independent that the local joke about him was that "his education is lacking: he's the only Trinidadian who doesn't know what a great draw of ganja is"—he was charged with drug offences in 1979, and subsequently cleared of the charges. In 1988 police used sledgehammers to break into the Mangrove, searching for drugs, after hiding in a freight container outside the restaurant from where they launched the raid. Charged with possession of heroin and cannabis, which he said the police had planted, Crichlow was defended by Gareth Peirce, Michael Mansfield, and Courtenay Griffiths, and was again acquitted, receiving £50,000 damages from the Metropolitan Police in 1992 for false imprisonment, battery and malicious prosecution.

Abner Cohen, writing in 1993, stated that although Crichlow was never a "leader" in any formal sense, never sought any important office, and was a "shy, diffident" person, he had nevertheless been "one of the most significant West Indian leaders in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. His role in the Notting Hill Carnival was paramount. [...] What was astonishing about Crichlow was that he did not give up. During twenty turbulent years, he made the Mangrove into a potent symbol of black unity, defiance and resistance."

Personal life

Crichlow and his partner Lucy Addington had a son, Knowlton, and three daughters, Lenora, Francesca, and Amandla; Lenora and Amandla both became actresses.

Frank Crichlow died in 2010 of prostate cancer. His funeral took place on 27 September 2010 at St Mary of the Angels, Bayswater.


Frank Crichlow Wikipedia