Dub Vendor, Notting Hill

"Once upon a time, Notting Hill meant more than Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts."

Dub Vendor, Notting Hill

There was a time when Notting Hill meant more than Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. When the major local struggle was how Britain treated its Black population and not who sells the best latte. This area was not called the Front Line for nothing. It was testament to the resilience, creativity and energy of African-Caribbean culture in London.

Lee Perry rarities

One of the more endurable aspects of this cultural shift was Dub Vendor, the well-established reggae and dance music shop in Ladbroke Grove. It opened in a booth next to the station , later moving to larger premises on the other side of the road. I mostly knew the kiosk where I would buy some rare Lee Perry track from some very knowledgeable expert. There would always be a group of guys listening to the latest pre from Jamaica. The atmosphere was chilled but the music was hot.

Now it has gone. There is still a Dub Vendor in Clapham Junction, but it’s a sign of the changing face of the area from a multi-cultural hotspot to a younger person’s Knightsbridge. On the fiftieth anniversary of the Notting Hill Riots, it seems as if a symbol of the Caribbean contribution to the vitality of this part of London has gone. Dub Vendor’s reggae tracks had real roots, community roots.