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Mangrove founder honoured

RESPECTED: Frank Crichlow made a positive impact on Britain's

A REVERED activist and civil rights campaigner who founded the legendary Mangrove restaurant has been commemorated with a heritage plaque.

Trinidad-born Frank Crichlow, who passed away on September 15, 2010, was dedicated to fighting for rights of the UK’s black community.

A blue plaque, organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust, was placed at the former site of Crichlow’s world-renowned Mangrove Caribbean restaurant, in Notting Hill, west London, on Sunday (Dec 4).

The scheme is the only one of its kind in the UK that commemorates past figures from the black community and the building they lived or worked in.

Crichlow caused uproar with authorities after he formed a community group to help improve housing and services for ex-offenders, drug addicts, and alcoholics.

Constant police harassment led to Crichlow successfully suing the Met in 1992 for false imprisonment, battery and malicious prosecution. He won record damages of £50,000.

"Frank Crichlow was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things,” said Darcus Howe, Voice columnist, broadcaster and civil campaigner who along with Crichlow was arrested in 1970 for “riot and affray” during a police harassment protest.

Mangrove Restaurant, in All Saints Road, was considered the home of black resistance and attracted the likes of musical greats including Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Marvin Gayle.

It closed in 1992 after a series of police raids and harassment eventually took its toll.

The unveiling of the blue plaque was attended by high-profile guests including Trinidad and Tobago’s high commissioner, Garvin Nicholas, Baroness Howells, and Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Julie Mills.

Crichlow also founded the award-winning Mangrove steel band which is still an integral part of Notting Hill's cultural appeal.

Nicholas said: “Frank Crichlow has, in a memorable way, made an impact on Notting Hill and its famous Carnival for
decades to come.

"He was a symbol of resistance to persecution and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement has helped make Britain a more accepting and tolerant society."

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