As an Australian living in this city, independent shops really speak London to me, and for many Londoners, it is important to keep this link with the past alive. It is not only the shops and the shopkeepers though; it is the spaces they inhabit. The little alleys, cobbled little streets, decorative pub fronts and unique markets are not only great for tourists, but they are where you can discover London from years passed.
The Brixton Market, including the three arcades Reliance, Market Row and Granville, are now listed as Grade II buildings. This was in response to outrageous redevelopment proposals, and this time the little guy won.
The Brixton market is the largest thriving hub of Afro-Caribbean culture in the UK that seamlessly combines its 19th century charm of tiny, irregularly shaped independent shops, with a small amount of modern retail. Can you imagine this place, with its smells, sounds, the flavour and essence of Brixton, being replaced with one giant modern retailer? It is nearly impossible to capture this with modern architecture. Now the unique Brixton Market is a little bit safer, for the time being.
Enjoy your local shops, markets, spaces and any little places you love near you, because they are part of us, that’s where our memories are, and hopefully, will continue to be made.
Written by Lauren Ottaway.