Esoteric London

No. 180: Brick Lane, E1

Posted in Graffiti, London Types, Sport by esotericlondon on November 5, 2010

Brick Lane, London, E1. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

Ras Prince Monolulu was born in 1881 on the West Indian island of St Croix (although he claimed to be a chief of the Falasha tribe of Abyssinia) and arrived in Britain in 1902. He went on to become a flamboyant character on the British horse racing scene from the 1920s up until his death in 1965, rising to prominence after picking out Spion Kop in the 1920 Derby, a 100-6 winner which made him an estimated £8000. He was regularly seen at the race courses around the capital and at Petticoat Lane. His usual outfit consisted of an ostrich feather head-dress, gaiters, a cloak of many-colours, and a scarf worn in the style of a cummerbund. If you didn’t see him coming, you would more than likely hear his cry of: “I gotta horse, I gotta horse”.

On 14th February 1965 Jeffrey Bernard, who was working as a racing journalist, visited Monolulu in Middlesex Hospital for the purpose of an interview. Bernard took with him a box of Black Magic chocolates, from which the Prince selected a strawberry cream and promptly choked to death on it. R.D.

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