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Plan for Claudia Jones mural on side of house

'It would be a new landmark – vibrant, colourful and for everyone to enjoy'

06 November, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

Shezan Renny in front of the wall where the artwork would go

THE inspiring story of journalist and activist Claudia Jones – credited with establishing the Notting Hill Carnival, setting up the UK’s first Black newspaper, and being a tireless campaigner for civil rights – could be celebrated in a new piece of public art near her grave in Highgate Cemetery.

Ms Jones, who was born in Trinidad, settled in Camden after being expelled from the United States for her communist beliefs. She found a safe haven in Gospel Oak in the 1950s and dedicated her life to helping others.

Now Highgate Newtown-based couple Paul and Shezan Renny believe the gable end of their home in Doynton Street is a canvas waiting for the dash of an artist’s brush – and are planning to consult with neighbours to raise support and funding for an eye-catching new landmark celebrating her legacy.

Claudia Jones

The pair work in education and say sharing Ms Jones’ story with their pupils is inspirational.

Mr Renny said: “It would be great to have an image of her here. She has strong links with Camden and here in particular. It will add to the richness of the area and celebrate one of our famous residents.”

The site, overlooking a park and playground, is on a walking tour route that includes visiting Ms Jones’ grave in Highgate Cemetery.

Ms Renny added: “She is a person we should all be very proud of – she did so much. Having a mural of her here would not only reflect that, but will prompt people to find out more about her life.”

And they added that a piece of stunning public art would raise spirits and inspire others. Ms Renny said: “It would be a new landmark – vibrant, colourful and for everyone to enjoy.”

The couple are now contacting residents to gauge their support and hope to embark on fundraising before shortlisting possible designs.

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