Notting Hill Carnival

When Brian of posted his Brazilian feature a couple of days ago his photographs sent me on a search for a set of my own colour slides from August 2007. I spent rather too much time on what seemed a fruitless exercise until, overnight, I remembered some forgotten boxes.

This was the year of Jessica’s death and my return to London to try to set up home alone once more. My usual meticulous filing system broke down. Consequently I kept slides unidentified in the processor’s little boxes. When Jackie and I were reunited in 2009 she helped me identify the contents, although I have never incorporated them into my archival system. Jackie had remembered this process and thought it was possible that she had labelled one box Notting Hill Carnival.

Indeed she had.

Today I scanned them.

For a couple of years I lived in Sutherland Place, very close to this corner where one of the sound units was situated. In 2007 I was one of only two residents who stayed at home for the Bank Holiday weekend. The other woman wore earplugs and, as the music shook our houses, advised me to do the same. The sound from the speakers was actually painful.

I do hope this young lady occupying one of the floats still has her hearing.

The wonderful light on this August day, and the sparsity of some of the clothing belies the fact that the temperature was very cold. When I left my spot on the railings beside St Stephen’s Mews to go home to use the lavatory and add another layer of clothing

I was able to reclaim it on my return. Two years later that would not have been possible. I couldn’t get near any of the floats, and when I left my flat I had to prove that I lived in the road in order to pass the barrier to reach home. 2007 may well have been the last manageable year of such a popular event drawing visitors from all over the country.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome savoury rice; a rack of ribs in barbecue sauce; and crisp tempura prawns with which she drank for of the Cabernet Sauvignon and I drank more of the Shiraz.


  1. Well done Jackie, on finding these joyous photos
    I’m sure the sheer excitement was warming everyone’s hearts, despite the cold day you remember!
    Let’s hope that such shared events can soon return – they’re part of what ‘community’ is all about.

  2. A great set of pictures. I don’t feel deprived at not having been battered by that sound system. I can’t take very loud music at all but I am sad that I never got to see the colour.

  3. How wonderful that you were able to capture this event on film. Your photos are beautiful, Derrick. It reminded me of a similar parade I enjoyed while visiting St. Lucia.

  4. What a wonderful collection of photos for you to rediscover Derrick.. The street parade and carnival look very similar to our multicultural ‘Pako Festa’ held here in Geelong West, but unfortunately has already been cancelled this year…

  5. What a great find. And indeed access is getting increasingly difficult…
    Your pix are fantastic. Colour is a must for Carnival…
    Thanks for the reference.

  6. I don’t like a lot of loud noise these days, but seeing the carnival through your photos was fun. The costumes were spectacular! It’s always a triumph to find old photos we thought’s we’d lost.

  7. There be amazing madnesses humans are capable of. Nonetheless, those are priceless captures. I also hate the murderers of the eardrums, and I am witnessing an increasing trend of such nuclear attacks of sound-bombs, thanks to easier availability of cheap technologies geared to that end.

  8. Wonderful photos…the smiles, the sparkles, the colours, the costumes, the feathers, ETC ! Thank you for sharing this wonderful event, Derrick! So good to see…and feel like we were there…since so many similar events had to be cancelled in 2020.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  9. I went to an Alice Cooper concert once and as an experiment, I went close to the speakers to see what effect they would have. Well, I don’t know if it’s possible to feel your internal organs, but I certainly felt that I could!

  10. The photos look so fresh and bright. I looks like a fun carnival, and I hope it was a good distraction during that sad time in your life. I assumed it was a summer carnival until you explained it was cold. I would not have enjoyed living near the loud noise though. Good job by Jackie in remembering the slides–I’m imagining all the boxes of labeled slides you must have (and awed, too). ?

  11. Interesting how the old photos look compared to the ones we take today, with all the technology. They look rather dull, unfocused and a bit blurry. I have the same problem with my old photos. As for the carnival, it looks like fun.

  12. What an exciting event to witness. Great shots of it, too. I would have thought that it was warm outside to look at them. Brr, I can’t imagine!

  13. Some of those costumes are aMAZE-ing!!! The woman in the scant costume with the large black wings is especially aMAZE-in, don’t you agree? I’m glad you were able to find the box of slides. Thanks for sharing them with us. I’m so glad you were able to reunite with Jackie and renew love and happiness again after the sadness of Jessica’s death.

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