Some portraits of this summer

I took  these portraits in August and September, before spending a short time offline away from London. Now back, I’ll be meeting more people to talk about memories of Ridley Road market from different perspectives over the next few weeks.




The Bagel Shop

This week I’d like to to share two memories of a bakery on Ridley Road that was mentioned many times: the bagel shop. The bagel shop was called Kossoff’s bakery and is one of the postcard images. It was taken by Alan Denney in 1979. The bagel shop is now called Tasty Buds and painted purple.

Susan and her family have been working on the market for several generations. A few years ago, she walked down Ridley Road with me telling me about the places and people of her childhood in the 1950/60s.

Susan [2013]
This used to be a Jewish bakery when I was little. It was called Kossoff’s. They baked the bagels upstairs and had a delicatessen counter downstairs – there was sliced salmon, cream cheese and Jewish products. About 5 years ago an Indian man bought it, so alongside the bagels which they still carried on producing, they were selling Indian food.  And now, this year, a West Indian man bought it. So in there now, you can buy bagels, Indian food and Caribbean food.

In July, Ruth brilliantly described her teenage years memories on Ridley Road in the 1990s.

Ruth [2017]

We used to go to clubs in the area for soul, R’n’B and reggae music. When everybody finished at 4 o’clock in the morning we used to come to this cafe at the top here. We used to call it the ‘Bagel Rave’. We would buy bagels and cream cheese and salmon and hang out until 6 o’clock in the morning. So that was another party here on the market.
The last photo here is a painting by Leon Kossoff and called ‘Dalston Junction with Ridley Road street market, Friday evening, November, 1972′. Leon Kossoff was born and bread in Islington and Hackney and later painted Ridley Road numerous times. I don’t know if he was related to the family who owned the bakery but I like the coincidence.
I have been listening to a lot of the stories I was told last month and have been meeting up with people who I met at the market stall. It’s so good to speak to people one to one in a quieter setting to get an idea of all theses things that the street and market are about.
If there’s a Ridley Road story or perspective you’d like to share with me, please do get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you!

Last weekend of postcard / story trading. What does a Ridley Road Book need?

This was my last weekend trading postcards with stories for now!

Even though it was a rainy and windy weekend I was told new stories and perspectives about the market I hadn’t come across yet.

A highlight was meeting 15 year old Leah who recited a poem she wrote about growing up in Hackney. She was positive saying how much she liked multicultural Ridley Road and how she’s experienced people being there for each other.

During the month of July, I collected and recorded the stories, memories and anecdotes of just over 100 people passing by my stall.

Thank you to everyone who shared their time and thoughts with me!!!

I asked people ‘What does a Ridley Road Book need?’ This will be an ongoing dialogue I’ll be having over the weeks to come…

Early mornings on Ridley Road

This week I’d like to introduce you to Miguel Echeverria’s photo of Ridley Road which has become one of the postcards. It was taken early in the morning on 1st January 2009. The quietness and subtlety of colour feel very special and also quite different to how most of us would experience the street during daytime.
Miguel took this photo on his way home from a New Year’s party just around the corner in the Old Boys Club. Some of his friends had put on a party playing psychedelic music from soul to reggae to rock to dance music. ‘The music is very eclectic and the sound system custom made. It’s a labour of love,’ he told me.
Miguel came by the postcard stall last weekend. I also talked to Tim who kept a record shop on Ridley Road for years and years. A younger man told me about his dad buying reggae records on Ridley Road and setting up his own sound system in the area.
It’ll be my last weekend trading postcards and stories on Friday and Saturday. So please do come along if you haven’t been!



Old photos of the market – on the market

Last weekend, I introduced a set of 50 old photographs of Ridley Road market, alongside 50 images I have taken of the market in the last 5 years. Hackney Archives have been so helpful in allowing me to use some of their material.

A stallholder called Colin spotted his mother in one of the pictures taken in the 1980s. He had plenty of stories to tell! Again, we recorded so many wonderful and interesting memories, insights and experiences.

It was nice seeing familiar faces from the first weekend. Some people came back to add to their earlier story. Hope to see them again this weekend.

Thank you to Anna for helping me last weekend!


On my search for photographs of the market…

On my search for photographs of the market a trader pointed me to Flickr. This is where I first saw Alan Denney’s extensive body of work. Alan moved to Hackney in the early 1970s and has since documented the local area. His photographs reflect a long-term commitment to social and political issues. He records life in Hackney, protest and community action across London and the impact of Thatcherism and austerity politics on the urban landscape.
Alan took the photograph on this postcard in 1984. It shows the beginning of the market at Kingsland High Street. One element of the photograph a number of people commented on last weekend at the stall was the GLC poster on the left. Alan told me that Margaret Thatcher saw the Greater London Council as a ‘bunch of communists threatening the welfare of London’ when I met him in May. Although there was a strong campaign to save it, the GLC was abolished in 1986.
What we can’t see, when looking at the beautiful colours of this busy market scene, is the protest march taking place behind the camera. A group is demonstrating against deportations of members of the Turkish community in Hackney. The march went up Kingsland High Street and just passed the market.
Alan told me that he used to find out about this protest march and demonstrations in general from a notice board at Centerprise on Kingsland High Street.

It was so nice bumping into Alan on Friday at the market. He has photographed Ridley Road numerous times over the last forty years. It has been really interesting talking to him about photography and Hackney’s past and present.

Alan Denney’s work can be found here:

First weekend of trading at Ridley Road

The last two days were really wonderful speaking to so many different people who have been working and shopping at the market. Some people have been coming here for over 50 years. Others were taken by their mums when they were little and are taking their kids to the market now.

Just as some of the traders have told me about how their families have worked on the market for 4 to 5 generations, I met a young mum who said she visits Ridley Road together with her mother, grandmother and daughter.

I was told so many vivid, thoughtful and incredible stories and memories of Ridley Road, it will take me a few days to process and write them down.

I’ll be printing a good selection of old and more recent photographs of the market for the stall next Friday and Saturday. It’ll be great to be able to look at them together. I’ve shown a number of old photographs to some of the stall holders before and it was amazing how these images triggered very precise recollections and forgotten memories.

I’ll be writing more about the actual postcards and the photographers during the week!