Aldwyn Roberts (Lord Kitchener) 1922-2000

Dublin Core

Title

Aldwyn Roberts (Lord Kitchener) 1922-2000

Subject

‘Grandmaster’ of Calypso music

Description

Lord Kitchener (real name Aldwyn Roberts) is widely known as the “Grandmaster” of calypso music, Trinidad’s native musical style. Also known by the names “Kitch” and the “Road King”, Lord Kitchener achieved international success and legendary status throughout his long career. He arrived in England on HMT Empire Windrush on 21st June 1948.

Born 18th April 1922 in Arima, Trinidad, Aldwyn Roberts was one of six children, to blacksmith Stephen Roberts and his wife Albertha. After the death of both his parents in 1936, Aldwyn left Arima Government Boys’ School to take up his first job singing and playing guitar. It was fellow calypsonian ‘Growling Tiger’ who gave him the name ‘Lord Kitchener’, in tribute to Horatio Kitchener, a British hero from the Boer War, whose memory was revered by the population of Trinidad.

The arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks, London, has become symbolic of the generation of Commonwealth citizens, who came to live in Britain between 1948 and 1971. Upon arriving, Lord Kitchener introduced himself to British audiences by singing ‘London Is the Place for Me’ which was captured on newsreel footage. Staying in Britain for 14 years, Lord Kitchener was responsible for the growth of Trinidadian music’s popularity and he recorded for the Parlophone, Melodisc and Lyragon labels. His records were exported in large quantities back to the Caribbean, where he remained extremely popular. Lord Kitchener depicted the Caribbean experience in Britain with calypsos like ‘The Cold In Winter’, ‘If You Brown’, ‘My Landlady’ and ‘London Is the Place for Me’.

Lord Kitchener’s records introduced white audiences to
aspects of Caribbean culture that were growing in England, proving popular amongst young audiences, including Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, who saw Lord Kitchener perform and is said to have bought a hundred copies of one of his recordings, to give to her friends.

On 14th May 1953, Lord Kitchener married Elsie Lines (Marjorie). He moved to Manchester, briefly owning a night club, whilst continuing to record songs. He experienced more success with his mid to late 1950s songs, which combined the calypso taste for reportage, with the celebration of sporting heroes. He was so pleased by Manchester United winning the League title and Manchester City’s FA cup triumph of 1956, that he wrote a calypso called ‘The Manchester Football Double’.

Lord Kitchener lived at various addresses in Manchester and
Trafford, including 48, Brooks Road (1957-1962).

He returned to Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1962. He lived there for the rest of his life, returning briefly to England two years later. He performed at the Manchester Carnival in 1962 and was part of the milieu which gave birth to the Notting Hill carnival, in the late 1960s.

Lord Kitchener was a dominant force in the annual Road March competition in Trinidad and Tobago, taking the title of Road March King on ten occasions between 1963 and 1976. His considerable contribution to Caribbean culture was commemorated with statues in Arima and at Roxy Roundabout, Port of Spain. Lord Kitchener died on 11th February 2000, having achieved international acclaim and legendary status.

Blue Plaque was officially unveiled to the people of Trafford at 48 Brooks Road, Stretford M16 9QR.

Date

Blue Plaque awarded by Trafford Council with contribution from Nubian Jak Community Trust, unveiled on Wednesday 21 June 2023.

Rights

This image may be subject to copyright law, in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Under the terms of 'fair dealing' it may be used for non-commercial research and private study. The person using the image is responsible for any infringement.

Files

Lord Kitchener plaque - 48 Brooks Road (002).jpg

Citation

“Aldwyn Roberts (Lord Kitchener) 1922-2000,” Exploring Trafford's Heritage , accessed April 19, 2024, https://exploringtraffordsheritage.omeka.net/items/show/3529.

Geolocation