Notting Hill Carnival founder Sam King dies aged 90

King began the carnival in 1964

Sam King, the founder of Notting Hill Carnival, has died aged 90.

A former aircraft engineer, King was one of the original 492 emigrants from Jamaica to London in 1948 on board the ship Empire Windrush.

King began Notting Hill Carnival in 1964. He was one of the co-founders of Britain’s first black newspaper, The West Indian Gazette, and sought to promote an event to promote better race relations in London.

The carnival began officially in 1975, when it was organised by teacher Leslie Palmer. He took influence from King’s event and a Notting Hill street party which had begun in 1966.

King became the first black mayor of the London district of Southwark in 1983, and was at the time the only black mayor in any London borough. He helped establish the Windrush Foundation, dedicated to preserving the history of the ship and its passengers who emigrated to the UK.

In 1998, King was awarded the MBE for his work in the community. He is survived by two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to King, saying: “Sam King was a man who arrived on the Windrush and started working like many Jamaicans did in the area, and then decided something had to be done for the good of the community in terms of carnival. What a legend, what a loss. He educated Londoners with Caribbean food, Caribbean culture, Caribbean music. London is a better place, Britain is a better place, thanks to him and his family.”