What it’s like to live opposite Grenfell Tower during Notting Hill Carnival
‘I am constantly reminded of the injustice and hardship these innocent people have suffered’
Steve lives in a block of flats near Latimer Road, less than five minutes walk from Grenfell Tower. With a clear view of the burnt building from his flat, he lives with his parents and sister.
Every year Steve, a recent graduate from Brunel University, and his friends celebrate the Notting Hill Carnival, the route going right past the main road by his home. But the carnival experience was different this year following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June.
There was a greater security risk than previous years, due to the increasing threat of terror, acid attacks and stabbings, which only exacerbated the feeling of vulnerability in this community.
Steve spoke to The Tab about how it felt to partake in the yearly celebrations after such a tragedy had occurred on his doorstep.
Regarding safety and warnings prior to the event, he said: "I was warned by a lot of friends and family about potential acid and knife attacks in the whole of carnival. However, more specifically people were worried about a potential terrorist attack on Latimer Road linked to the Grenfell disaster."
The sentiment of fear snowballed in the area, with local people fearing terrorists may monopolise on their hardship and make Latimer Road a terror target.
However, Steve and his family believe that the Notting Hill Carnival is beneficial to the area: "The community come together to enjoy the festivities and celebrate a multicultural London, also to drink out pineapples.
"The only downside I guess would be the mess left afterwards however this is hardly even a slight concern. The clear up this year was so fast. Older residents may say the noise is rather annoying but who cares, it's just a couple of days and it creates such positivity."
Overall, the crowds were smaller than previous years, but were not discouraged. Steve explained: "It was good to see people were not put off or afraid because of the disaster. Many showed their respects and support for those involved by performing quiet zones on some streets. The same people also tried to create a good atmosphere within the community by enjoying each other's company."
The carnival floats turned off their music when travelling past Grenfell Tower out of respect, showing that, while the party continues, those who has suffered are not being forgotten.
There are still flowers that have been placed on a memorial area on the street, to remember those who were killed and those who have suffered great loss since the fire in June this year. Living so close to the tower, with a clear view of it from his bedroom window, Steve said: "I am constantly reminded of the injustice and hardship these innocent people have suffered and the helplessness I feel (as well as the community) in lessening their pain."
When asked if the sentiment of the community has been improved since the Carnival arrived on their streets. He said: "It's hard to say. I certainly feel better from seeing people enjoy themselves as well as paying their respects to those involved in the disaster. However I'm sure the same can not be said for everyone."