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On Tuesday 22nd November, the Friends of Leather Lane Market presented the issue of the market at the Holborn and Covent Garden Area Action Group meeting, at Guide Hall on Coram’s Fields. The meeting was chaired by Councillor Julian Fulbrook, and also attended by Councillor Sue Vincent and Awale Olad, as well as many prominent members of the local community.

The case of the market was presented by Simon Rochowski, Secretary of the Friends of Leather Lane Market, that the market hadn’t seen enough support from the Council over the previous years and was in danger of further decline, to the detriment of the local community. Cllr. Sue Vincent stated the importance of the market and street markets in general to Camden Council, and that a review looking specifically into this area was underway, and would be delivered by late December / early January.

The Friends welcomed the review, and said it needed to be matched by real action, support and investment in the market to raise its profile once again. Minutes of the meeting will be posted here once they are made available by Camden in the near future.

Today the Friends of Leather Lane Market met with several representatives from Camden Council to talk about improvements for the market. Representing the Council were Sam Monck, Assistant Director of Public Realm; Paul Dunphy, Head of Economic Services; Michael Walsh, Strategy Improvement Manager; and Abdul Khalam-Ali, Market Inspector Officer. From the Friends of Leather Lane Market there were Tim Driscoll, Chairman; David Clarke, Member; and Simon Rochowski, Secretary and designer at Ash Sakula. Cany Ash, Director of Ash Sakula Architects, hosted the meeting, which was followed by a brief walk through the market.

Everyone was very positive about revitalising the market and making it a vibrant and important destination once again. Issues such as the road closure, signage, ticketing and more were discussed.

We also presented Sam with a copy of a brief report into the market prepared by Ash Sakula. This report can be downloaded here.

LL_Report

The Friends of Leather Lane Market have been invited to appear on the Robert Elms Radio Show, on BBC Radio London 94.9 FM.

The show will be broadcast live on Tuesday 8th November between 1.30 – 2pm.

On the show will be Tim Driscoll, Chairman of the Friends of Leather Lane and long-term trader; and Simon Rochowski, of Ash Sakula Architects. We will be talking about the challenges and opportunities that Leather Lane Market faces, both specifically and within the wider context of London street markets.

UPDATE: You can listen to the post here:

The Friends of Leather Lane Market has now been established! We are currently a small group of local traders, business-owners and individuals, and we aim over the next few months to instigate a series of actions to improve and reinvigorate the market. Of course, we can’t do this alone, so if you have ideas or are able to help, please contact us.

Also, please take a look at our poll and submit your answer.

The team went all out at our stalls and working the full length of the market, using the opportunity of making a sale to have a good chat about the market.

The main stands were where we sold most of the Leather Lane items, as well as invited people to write down their opinions and ideas

bags, badges, wallets, as well as hand-sown flags were on offer, and we got a good dose of respect for the sellers from learning how much effort goes into ach and every sale.

Although they themselves were more than obliging, and we gathered together an even broader range of concerns, ideas, stories and good memories than from the day and evening before.

As well as meeting new traders like the talented artist and recent graduate Omo Okolo (below), selling her beautifuly cafted textile journals and other creations. Also check out her website designwithflair.co.uk

With graduate friends thinking about joining her in the market, there will hopefully be a new area of unique, one-off designs at Leather Lane, helping to bring in a new client base, as well as foster all that latent talent we have around the city…

In the evening we were plied with drink and cake at the entrepreneurial Cafe Le Regal, where we had Solomon W Yohannes -director of Oral History at The Museum of London- come and talk about the role of sharing memories and experiences in urban communities.

We also screened a film that took everyone on a little journey through the past hundred years of London Street Markets, the fruits of archival research that we’ve been doing in the office over the past few weeks, with material ranging from news reels about saving Berwick Street Market in the 50s, to Markets in iconic films like Notting Hill.

Amidst the sound of chatter and chink of beer glasses rising from the craft&co, the Leather lane stars had their first meeting. An effective mixture of people  – a handful of market traders, a large group of representatives of Camden council, and more than half a dozen other residents and businesses sat around the room, a reminder of the diverse interests that have the ability to change the fate of Leather Lane Market.

In a range of tones and voices, issues were brought up from improving signage, stopping traffic penetrating the market, making it a lot easier to get a trading license, to increasing trading hours, and organising events to bolster the market’s unique selling point (utilizing the unique character of the surrounding community)

Ultimately, it seemed that no grand plan was needed, but a few basic, practical measures that could be implemented very rapidly to get things rolling in the right direction. Everyone was keen to be ambassadors to spread the word and get more people on board for the next meeting.

So today was our first day on the market, the office was a mad rush as everyone ran around putting together the last bits and pieces of Leather Lane Stars produce. We had the sewing machine going at full speed adding the Leather Lane labels onto our bags and card holders.

Meanwhile, down at the market, our stalls were going up decorated with banners, flags and millions of badges all sporting the Leather Lane Stars logos. As the day went on, our stalls filled up with our custom bags, card holders and various bits and bobs all hand made in the Ash Sakula office.

It was great to see our stalls generating interest from the market goers at the lunch time rush hour.  To help gain support from the locals we walked down the market selling Leather Lanes Stars Flags to the local shops and businesses. It was really great to see the enthusiasm from some of the shopkeepers, cafe owners and stall holders who had some great ideas to help make leather lane the busy, bustling market it used to be.

We’re very excited for our event tonight at Craft Beer Co at 6pm where all the traders and local businesses are going to come together to share all their ideas and talk to the council about transforming Leather Lane Market.