Brixton sheds its shady side
The market’s international influence also includes a multitude of worldly wares. At Collectibles, an antique crockery boutique in Granville Arcade, Brixton-born proprietor Sonia Williams praises the restoration initiative for giving her and her sister the opportunity to expand their hobby from a weekly trestle table selling finds from markets and auctions to a viable retail business. Inside the shop, all manner of dainty cups, saucers and cake stands sell for a fraction of what they would cost in other parts of London. Space is also given to handmade bags by Japanese artist Mizuyo, who had never before sold her work in a shop.
On Granville Arcade’s Fourth Avenue, African Queen displays a kaleidoscope of colourful West African fabrics. Similarly, Rachel and Malika’s next door harbours a sumptuous collection of global garnerings, such as hand-stitched Rajasthani throws, North African wood carvings, South American woven mats and chairs gathered on a recent trip to Senegal.
The spirit of social enterprise that gave birth to Brixton Village is still inherent at the Brick Box, a cafe and experimental arts hub on Granville Arcade's Second Avenue. Most recently, the Brick Box has been given a six-month trial to transform the Angel Pub, an old public house located just a few minutes' walk away on Coldharbour Lane, a road that once had an unsavoury reputation for street crime. The aim -- to host events that create and nurture an artistic community at the venue – is a promising sign that a small-scale initiative to populate a declining market is now filtering out further afield.