Next weekend, a series of events will take place in west London to remember Kelso Cochrane, one of the first recorded victims of racially motivated murder in the UK.
Fifty years ago on 17 May 1959, Kelso Cochrane, an immigrant from Antigua, was murdered in Notting Hill by a gang of White men as he walked home from a local hospital after receiving treatment for an injury he had sustained in his work as a carpenter. Kelso was stabbed and later died in hospital. His murder came a year after the Notting Hill ‘race riots’ when the Black community of Notting Hill was forced to defend itself from attacks by gangs of racist Teddy Boys. Oswald Mosley’s British Union Movement and Colin Jordan’s White Defence League were both active in the area at the time. A Union Movement member later claimed in an interview with the Sunday People that a group member was responsible for the murder. No one has ever been convicted for the murder of Kelso Cochrane.
Kelso’s funeral became a rallying point of opposition to racism and fascism and a platform for Black and White unity. Over 1,200 people lined Ladbroke Grove to pay homage and to follow the hearse as it made its way to Kensal Green cemetery. The grave, which has recently been rediscovered, is inscribed ‘From the Trades Council and his West Indian Friends’.
Fifty years on, a number of events will take place in west London culminating on Sunday 17 May with the unveiling of a blue plaque at the Grove Inn Restaurant & Bar. The events have been organised by the west London-based 1958-9 Remembered: 50 Years On Project, which has been running a year-long programme of events to remember the 1958 Notting Hill riots and to celebrate community achievement since then.
A concert will also take place on Saturday night aimed at young people, with film screenings and music by local performers and DJs, see below for a full list of events:
- Concert for Kelso Cochrane on Friday 15 May, 7pm
- Kelso Cochrane memorial event on Saturday 16 May, 12pm
- Concert and film evening for Kelso Cochrane on Saturday 16 May, 4pm
- Commemorative plaque for Kelso Cochrane on Sunday 17 May, 3pm