Blue Mountain Peak

Shop front of a grocery store with fruit displayed at the entrance. The shop has blue awnings and the shop sign reads, ‘Blue Mountain Peak’ and ‘Afro-Carribean Fruit & Veg’
Blue Mountain Peak, Craven Park Road, Harlesden, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

When was Blue Mountain Peak established?

Blue Mountain Peak was established in 1978, by Harshad Patel. As part of the Harlesden Trailblazer’s project, Keziah Ann-Abakah conducted an interview with Mr Patel’s daughter, Yamini Patel.

Inside Blue Mountain Peak grocery store, showing photographs of Harshad Patel, the founder of the shop.
Blue Mountain Peak, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

Yamini told us that Mr Patel worked at the McVitie’s factory when he first moved to Harlesden. In the 1970’s Harlesden was predominantly an area settled by Caribbean communities.

Yamini mentioned a funny story:

“You’ll laugh at this, but my father, being an Indian, had a Jamaican accent!” she explains, “because for 42 years plus he was in Harlesden, with his customers...everybody loved him.”

She felt Mr Patel embraced, and was embraced by, the local community he served.

How did they come up with the name ‘Blue Mountain Peak’?

A customer suggested the name ‘Blue Mountain Peak’ to him, named after the highest mountain peak in Jamaica, and he thought it was a good idea.

What do they sell?

Inside Blue Mountain Peak grocery store, showing Custard Apples, round fruit with irregular green skins, packed in white polystyrene wrappers. A sign on orange card reads, ‘Custard Apple: £1.09 Each”.
Custard Apple in Blue Mountain Peak, 2021. Photograph by Rachel Lum

The business has expanded to cater to a widening and ever-diversifying community. Their groceries still have a strong Caribbean and African base - including June Plum; Jamaican Mangoes; Soursop; Custard Apples; Caribbean Tru-Juice Drinks; Guava; Passion Fruit (orange ones); Sorrel. But also cater to Brazilian, Mexican and European communities in the area as well.

Colour photograph of a document titled, ‘Services Directory, Harlesden, with colourful illustrations on the cover’.
Colour photograph of a document titled, ‘Services Directory, Harlesden, with colourful illustrations on the cover’.
Harlesden Services Directory, 1998. Brent Museum and Archives, Pamphlet Collection, LHC/1/LOH/4/5

A services directory for Harlesden, produced alongside Harlesden City Challenge, in 1998, which features Blue Mountain Peak.

The McVitie’s connection:

The famous Mc Vitie’s biscuit factory was/is a large employer of local people in Harlesden and nearby areas. The factory first opened in 1902. In the interview, Yamini and Keziah share that both their parents worked at McVitie’s when they first moved to the UK. The Creative Researchers noted how you can often smell the biscuits when leaving the railway station at Harlesden.

Black and white photograph of a factory. At the bottom it is annotated, ‘Mc. Vitie & Price’s Biscuit Factory, Willesden’.
McVitie’s factory, Acton Lane, Harlesden, 1910. Brent Museum and Archives. Image Ref: 589

This black and white photograph postcard shows Mc Vitie and Price’s Biscuit Factory, not long after it opened, in 1910. The factory is still located in Harlesden.

With thanks to Keziah Ann-Abakah, Yamini Patel and Blue Mountain staff.

Find out more

You can visit the Blue Mountain Peak website here

Please also see Brent Museum and Archives webpages for more information on the history of Harlesden and Brent.