Main content

Queens of Chapeltown

50 years on from the first Leeds West Indian Carnival, Colin Grant goes behind the scenes to explore its roots, and its aim to wash away the anti-immigrant sentiment of the 1960s.

After the violence directed at black people in Nottingham and Notting Hill in the 1950s, and the naked racism expressed in Smethwick during the 1964 general election, a group of pioneering West Indians came up with a simple and defiant riposte: Carnival. In Queens of Chapeltown, Colin Grant goes behind the scenes of Carnival to its Leeds West Indian HQ in Chapeltown - amidst the glue guns, sequins and feathers - to capture that moment of extraordinary transformation, 50 years on: the birth of a tradition which, for one weekend in August, would wash away the bad taste of anti immigrant sentiment with a burst of colour and flash of exuberance that would forever change Britain. Grant travels to Leeds to talk with the pioneers and celebrate the endurance and growth of Carnival.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Thu 30 Nov 2017 11:30




Discover more seriously interesting radio documentaries.