Mangrove restaurant

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Template:Use dmy dates 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.<ref name=Jasper>Jasper, Lee. "Obituary: Frank Crichlow, founder of Mangrove Community Association", OBV, 17 September 2010.</ref> Like the El Rio before it — a coffee bar run at 127 Westbourne Park Road by Crichlow in the early 1960s that attracted attention in the Profumo affair, as one of the places frequented by Christine Keeler<ref name=Busby /> 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.<ref name=BunceIndy /> Famous customers included Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, C. L. R. James, Lionel Morrison, Vanessa Redgrave, Colin MacInnes, Richard Neville and Tony Gifford.<ref name=BunceIndy /><ref name=Busby>Busby, Margaret. "Frank Crichlow obituary", The Guardian, 26 September 2010.</ref> A small newspaper, The Hustler, was published on the premises, underlining the community aspect of the restaurant,<ref name=BunceIndy>Bunce, Robert and Field, Paul. "Frank Critchlow: Community leader who made the Mangrove Restaurant the beating heart of Notting Hill", The Independent, 23 September 2010.</ref> which also served as an informal head office for the Notting Hill Carnival.<ref name="Cohen1993" />

In 1969 the restaurant became the target of police attention that seemed designed to close it down. Robert Bunce and Paul Field write in The Independent that it was raided 12 times between January 1969 and July 1970,<ref name=BunceIndy /> 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 including Crichlow and Darcus Howe — the "Mangrove Nine" — on charges that included conspiracy to incite a riot. 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. Bunce and Field write that the Mangrove Nine "turned the fight against police racism into a cause célèbre."<ref name=Bunce>Bunce, Robert and Field, Paul. "Mangrove Nine: the court challenge against police racism in Notting Hill", The Guardian, 29 November 2010</ref> A documentary film, The Mangrove Nine (directed by Franco Rosso, produced by Horace Ové and scripted by John La Rose), was made in 1973.

Rapid gentrification of the restaurant's neighbourhood in the 1980s once more led to increased police pressure.<ref name="Cohen1993" /> 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. Crichlow, who was prohibited from going near the restaurant for a year, alleged that the police themselves had planted the drugs.<ref name=Mills/> 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.<ref name="Cohen1993">Template:Cite book</ref><ref name=Mills>Mills, Heather. "Restaurant that became a symbol for radicalism", The Independent, 13 October 1992.</ref> But both his year-long absence and changes in economic conditions had caused the restaurant to fail.<ref name=Mills/> By 1992, it was closed, and the premises boarded up.<ref name=Mills/> The Hurlingham Restaurant and Wine bar now operates from the Mangrove's former address, outside which a heritage blue plaque to honour Frank Crichlow was unveiled on 4 December 2011 by Jak Beula's Nubian Jak Community Trust.



Further reading

  • Bunce, Robert and Field, Paul. Darcus Howe: A Political Biography. Bloomsbury, 2012 (forthcoming).