rabbleReels: St Paul’s Carnival Bristol In 1980.

In Blogby Rashers TierneyLeave a Comment

st paul

About half the rabble editors have decamped across the pond for St Paul’s Carnival. It’s an annual Carribean festival akin to Notting Hill – but with far less of the stress of BabyLondon. See what I just did there?!

It takes place just outside the city centre, up at the top of the famous Stokes Croft area (known for its street art scene…). St Paul’s has a checkered history as they say, with infamous anti-cop riots in 1980 kicking off a long hot summer. The carnival is an annual celebration of the unity in diversity the place strives for and there’s renegade feel to it.

As this blog post and the recent cancellations of two carnivals in St Paul remind us, tensions can still run high in the area – but the sun is shining and there’s a giddiness on the streets. I’ve been here an hour, and already three people have asked me am I going to carnival.

If you haven’t heard about the place, then this classic documentary will give you plenty of insight.

As the uploader explains:

“Here is a part 1 of a 5 part video about St Paul’s Bristol in autumn of 1980 6 months after the riot . We used to do what we like with the police they would have to back down most of the time . Until crack appeared years later in the area it was almost a no go area . Divide & conquer. Now the once close knit community has all but gone . Big up st pauls we ran things for many years…….Most of the people at the end of this video outside the court are the 16 that were on trial for the riot they were arrested for who they were and not for what they had done . They had 17 names down for it i was the 17th i hid out in london for a year till all the charges were dropped against the 16 …Big up the 16.”

It’s our first year coming over, the madness of Notting Hill and its throngs of thousands seemed way too daunting this year.

Bristol is better.a

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