Brixton Stories
A conversation with Clovis Salmon aka ‘Sam the Wheels’

Thurs 20 April, 7 - 8:30pm

Rivington Place

London, UK

Talk, £2

The UK's first Black documentary filmmaker, Clovis Salmon aka 'Sam the Wheels' has been making films since the late 1940's. As a first generation migrant from Jamaica, Sam documented the lives and times of the Caribbean community as they struggled to establish themselves in the UK.

Now in his eighties, Sam the Wheels will discuss his life as an amateur filmmaker in an evening of conversation at Autograph ABP.

Sam began filming his neighbourhood in Brixton in 1959. His unique archive of Super 8 celluloid films includes church and community events, activism, local struggles and the aftermath of the 1981 Brixton Riots.

This extraordinary footage provides a unique insider account, rarely seen through the lens of a local resident. Acting as a citizen journalist, his films offer a counter-narrative uncontaminated by a media agenda.

He will be joined by George Butler of Mutiny Media, who was involved in digitising the footage currently on display in our exhibtion Sam the Wheels: The Great Conflict, Brixton Riots and Other Films.

Seating for this rare opportunity to meet and listen to Sam the Wheels is limited to 35 people, and we highly recommend booking tickets in advance. The evening will end with a Q&A with the audience.

About Sam the Wheels

Clovis Salmon (b. 1930s, Jamaica) was among the first generation of migrants from the West Indies to settle in the United Kingdom, arriving in London in November 1954. Having run his own bike shop in Jamaica, he joined Holdsworth Cycle Co. as a bicycle repair man and soon became known as ‘Sam the Wheels‘.

Salmon was also a Pentecostal preacher, and one of his more significant films is The Great Conflict of Somerleyton Road (1963–64), which follows the story of Jesus Saves, a Pentecostal Church demolished to make way for the ‘Barrier Block’ on Coldharbour Lane. This work reveals the important role churches played for West Indian communities, who built their own social spaces after being excluded from other churches, pubs and clubs.

Armed with a camera hidden inside his jacket, Salmon documented the aftermath of the Brixton Riots on 10-12 April 1981, when 280 police officers and 45 members of the public were injured, over a 100 vehicles were burnt out, more than 150 buildings were damaged and 82 arrests were made. An estimated 5,000 people were involved in the riots, and a total of 2,500 police officers were drafted in to quell the unrest.

About George Butler

Geroge Butler worked with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning on the project People, Signs and Resistance (2009) which digitised the selection of archival footage currently on show at Autograph ABP.

He is the Director of Mutiny Arts, which he set up in May 1999 after working with numerous community video organisations running ‘hands-on learning’ video projects based on social issues.

About our events

Our events are very popular, and often sell out quickly. We recommend booking a ticket in advance to avoid dissapointment. 

To find out first about upcoming events, join our events announcements on our mailing list >

Additional Info

Autograph ABP
Rivington Place, EC2A 3BA.

View on Google Maps >

The entrance is on the side of the building.

We are located in the heart of Shoreditch, a short walk from Old Street, Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations.
Buses: 26, 43, 48, 55, 67, 149, 205, 242 and 271

  • Film still, from Fays Wedding
  • Aftermath of the Brixton Riot, 1981. Film still, from Somerleyton 6
  • Brixton Market. Film still, from Somerleyton 2
  • Baptism. Film still, from Ministers & Church