Race murder victim remembered

by Nadia Sam-Daliri An Antiguan man who was murdered in a racist attack 50 years ago has been remembered in a three-day run of events. Kelso Cochrane, a 32-year-old carpenter, was stabbed in the heart by a gang of white youths in Notting

by Nadia Sam-Daliri

An Antiguan man who was murdered in a racist attack 50 years ago has been remembered in a three-day run of events.

Kelso Cochrane, a 32-year-old carpenter, was stabbed in the heart by a gang of white youths in Notting Hill on May 17 half a century ago.

No-one was ever convicted of his murder.


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Last weekend, a blue plaque was put up in Westbourne Park in his honour and a music and poetry evening was held.

Cllr Pat Mason, of the 1958 Remembered Steering Group who organised the events, said: "The conflict and violence that occurred 50 years ago caused the police, council and community to work hard to make sure it didn't happen again. It's important that people who come to this area knows about its history."

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Eddie Adams, 72, of St Lawrence Terrace, Ladbroke Grove lived just around the corner from Kelso and attended his funeral.

He said: "Kelso's funeral was one of the first times in this country black and white people were brought together like that.

"There were a lot of fascists around at the time and they saw the West Indians as an easy target.

"I remember the mood after Kelso died was very sombre. But there was a feeling of unity and we all wanted to tackle racism."

Many West Indians settling around Notting Hill in the 1950s, looking for work in booming, post-war Britain.

Just one year before Kelso's death, the Notting Hill race riots brought the area to a standstill, furthering mistrust from the public over how the police underplayed race tensions.

Investigating police were criticised at the time for dismissing Kelso's killing as a straight-forward robbery.

Their lack of action prompted a united cross-ethnic response from the community.

More than 1,200 people, both black and white, attended Kelso's funeral at Kensal Green Cemetery, in Harrow Road, Kensal Green.

But around the same time, the National Labour Party, a forerunner to the BNP, started lobbying for recruits.

When Kelso was murdered, many in both the black and white community saw it as the first racist killing of a black person in modern Britain.

nadia.sam-daliri@archant.co.uk

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