London celebrations

The Old Wetherspoons pub could be transformed for a reggae exhibition in north London

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In Brent Council’s plan to celebrate the black community, the former Wetherspoons pub in north London could be transformed to house a reggae ‘museum’ exhibition.

On Harlesden’s Manor Park Road, the center acquired by the council in 2020 could be used to celebrate the history of reggae and black history in the area.

The Picture Palace will be refurbished as part of the council’s Black Community Action Plan, which was launched after the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The initial ten-year action plan aims to celebrate black heritage, with events such as a pop-up market at the site promoting the ‘black book’ selling handicrafts celebrating black culture – with visitors from as far away as Birmingham.

Attending the event over the weekend, Councilor Matt Kelcher hailed the plans, citing Harlesden, known for its Caribbean restaurants and black entrepreneurs, as the “perfect place” for the project.

Councilor Kelcher, chairman of Brent’s planning committee, said: ‘One of the things that came out of this [Black Community Action Plan] report supported spaces for the community to celebrate culture and come together.

“The council decided, quite easily, that the building they have was the perfect place for it.

“The reason I’m really in favor of it is that it provides good facilities for the community – it brings people together.

“Like the Saturday market, people from all communities will try new foods, learn new things and meet new people.”

Advisor Matt Kelcher/Twitter

He added that the site could be used to host a number of events such as a pop-up reggae “museum” and other exhibitions.

Brent is ‘the most diverse borough in the country’ with the seventh largest black community in London, according to the council.

He added that the action plan hopes to address inequalities that black communities continue to face, such as the “disproportionate impact” on Covid-19 death rates on black and Asian communities.