Small Axe is a short series that recently made its way to BBC One and iPlayer. It couldn’t have come at a better time considering the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, which started earlier in 2020. The series covers different stories and experiences of Black people who have lived in the UK, along with some of the challenges that they’ve both faced and overcome. The opening episode revolves around one restaurant, Mangrove.
Small Axe: A Short Series
Each episode of Small Axe is different and tells a completely different story regarding Black people in the UK. The first episode told the story of the Mangrove Nine, who were a group of Black activists that were charged with causing riots at a protest in 1970. They were later acquitted after going through with a trial that was highly publicized.
The trial went on for 55 days, and the 9 defendants were acquitted after evidence showed the motivation and actions of the Metropolitan Police officers were less than justified.
The Mangrove Restaurant
The entire first episode was centered around the Mangrove restaurant, which was located in Notting Hill, on All Saints Road. It was a Caribbean restaurant owned by Frank Crichlow, a Trinidadian activist, and campaigner. He was also one of the Mangrove Nine.
Mangrove quickly grew to be the heart of the community after it opened for business in 1968. It also became the informal head office of the Notting Hill Carnival, and it also helped publish The Hustler, a local newspaper. The restaurant was also a meeting place for many people in the Black community which, in turn, made it a target for the Metropolitan Police.
The restaurant permanently closed in 1992, after it was subjected to multiple police raids throughout the 1980s. Frank Crichlow was also prohibited from entering or going near Mangrove after the raids. Due to these circumstances and the changing of the economy in the area, the restaurant failed.
In its place now is a late-night cocktail bar and restaurant called The Little Yellow Door.