London Free School

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The London Free School was founded 8th March 1966 principally by John 'Hoppy' Hopkins and Rhaune Laslett.

The London Free School was a community action adult education project inspired by American free universities (and the Victorian Jewish Free School in Spitalfields). The organisers have been described as an ‘anarchic temporary coalition’ of the old guard New Left and CND housing activists from the Rachman days and the new beatnik/hippy generation. The former included George Clark of the Notting Hill Community Workshop, Richard Hauser (who ran a community scheme after the 1958 riots), Rhaune and Jim Laslett-O’Brien, Bill Richardson of the Powis and Colville Residents Association, Andre and Barbara Shervington.[1]

To varying degrees of involvement, the hippy contingent numbered John Hopkins, Michael X, Lloyd Hunte, Pete Jenner (who went on to manage Pink Floyd), Joe Boyd of Electra Records, Andrew King, Michael Horovitz, John Michell, Julie Felix, Jeff Nuttall, Mike McInnerney, Graham Keen, Neil Oram, Dave Tomlin, Felix de Mendelsohn, Nigel Waymouth of Granny Takes A Trip, John Essam, Alex Trocchi, the jazz writer Ron Atkins, the Warhol star Kate Heliczer, Harvey Matusow (the McCarthy witchtrials saboteur), RD Laing and ‘the Belsize Park shrinks’, Emily Young, Anjelica Huston and Pink Floyd.[2]

According to Jeff Nuttall, ‘Ultimately the Free School did nothing but put out a local underground newsletter and organise the 2 Notting Hill Gate Festivals, which were, admittedly, models of exactly how the arts should operate – festive, friendly, audacious, a little mad and all taking place on demolition sites, in the streets, and in a magnificently institutional church hall.’ However, the formation of 'The Notting Hill Neighbourhood Service'(one of the first centres to offer drugs and legal advice in London),the Notting Hill Carnival,the International Times and the UFO Club all emerged from the brief life of the LFS.

Pink Floyd played at All Saints Church Hall, initially as part of The Notting Hill Fayre, then a series of fund-raising concerts for the LFS. These were among the earliest gigs by the band coming between their Spontaneous Underground period at The Marquee and the start of the UFO club.[3]


  1. An historical and psychogeographical report on Notting Hill compiled by Tom Vague for HISTORYtalk [1]
  2. An historical and psychogeographical report on Notting Hill compiled by Tom Vague for HISTORYtalk [2]
  3. "Echoes: the complete history of Pink Floyd" By Glenn Povey
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