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.

Local trainee journalist Eleanor Donajgrodzki has written an article about our campaign to save Leather Lane:

A group of local architects have started a campaign to publicise and rejuvenate Leather Lane Market.

Working alongside the market traders and local shop owners, the eight architects have set up a stall selling merchandise, organised events and created a blog in order to draw attention to the market’s decline.

‘The Leather Lane Stars’ campaign, named after the traders and those that work in the local shops, came about because the group were worried about their local market. “We’ve been watching the market decline and have always wanted to do something about it, and we’ve finally got an opportunity” said Richard Brown, one of the campaigners.

The campaigners are hoping to bring about a number of changes, including making Leather Lane a car-free road, extending trading hours and improving advertising. “We’re trying to raise awareness”, said Amanda Rashid, another campaigner, “We’ve been making bags, flags and badges to sell”.

The team, most of whom work at Ash Sakula Architects on Hatton Wall, organised a meeting yesterday evening (21/09/2011) with Camden Council leaders including Richard Williams, Head of Trader Services, to discuss ways in which to improve the market. ‘They were helpful. There were a lot of different ideas about how markets can work better’, said Richard Brown.

Once a major shopping destination for workers from nearby offices, the market has been badly affected by the economic downturn and competition from surrounding supermarkets. “The recession was the last of many nails that have been driven in to this coffin”, said Tim Driscoll, Chairman of Leather Lane Market Traders Association. Paul McQuillan’s flower stall has been in his family for five generations, “We won’t last much longer” he said.

A single-shot film showing how much diversity is on offer at Leather Lane on a sunny autumn afternoon, from food, bags, clothes, accessories, designer coffee, fruit & veg, to dvds, book-binding, jewelry, and electronics. All of it coloured by the cries of sellers, and juicy snippets of conversation from passing punters.

A short clip we made, one of us piggy-backing on another’s shoulder, to show the market from a slightly different perspective.

some pictures of the delicious French area of the market this Friday… saucissons on the grill, sweets, olives, fresh garlic, smoked meats, cheeses and more.

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.