The Centre that Powers the Road

Mr Solomon (Ricky) Walters

Mr Solomon (Ricky) Walters arrived in England in 1956 and worked at British Celanese for a short period of time before moving to British Rail. In 1965 he opened the Havana Club, Uttoxeter Old Road which ran for over 30 years and was probably one of the longest running African Caribbean clubs in the UK. 

In 1969 Mr Walters was elected as a Derby West Indian Association (DWIA) committee member and he began to work on improving community cohesion with all sectors of the community. Early entries in the Committee’s Minutes Books (on display in this gallery) show that in 1972 Mr Walters offered the Havana Club free of charge to the Association to hold a fundraising dance to raise additional funds for a children’s party.  

In 1972 the Vice Chair tendered her resignation, as she has been secured a place at a  
local Teacher’s Training College. Mr Walters was nominated to serve as for the rest of the term. At DWIA’s AGM IN 1975, Mr Walters was elected DWIA President. He  started the Derby Festival, now Derby Caribbean Carnival. This was based on the success of DWIA involvement in the Derby Harmony Festival, 1971 and participation in the Derby Council Community Relations Festival, 1974.    

(Ricky)’s legacies include laying the foundation for Derby Caribbean Carnival and creating the Havana Club, which put Derby on the map for Caribbean people. People travelled from across the UK to the Club and still there continues to be national involvement in  Derby Caribbean Carnival.