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If time could tell us a story, what would the story be?
We are fascinated by the stories hidden in our urban environment. They often stay unnoticed, quietly masked under the quick pace of our city lifestyle. But if we look just close enough to these hidden messages, we can find out all sorts of interesting facts about the city we live in. In this month’s walk, Foxies wander through Chapel Market and listen to the story time has to tell. Can you piece together the story behind the image sets below?
Each image set (horizontal sequence) has a time gap between them. Through searching for the similarities and differences in each set, we can learn about the physical and social changes of the community through the years of urban transformation.
The first thing we noticed in the image sets was the well-kept street view and the sustained market usage. An overall improvement to the Chapel Market street scene is observed: the newly erected market gate at the street entrance, the refurbishment of the building façade along the market, and a green space replacing the former derelict. These additions reflect on the community’s focus and effort to embetter the living quality of its residences.
The images also reflect a transition in the community’s social dynamic and suggest a shift from a monotony of English merchants to a diversity of intercultural vendors. On top of the common English pie and mash shops and cafes, the street now also sells Vietnamese food, Indian dishes, Greek plates, and more ethnical specialties. The market becomes a street of diversity.
Although there are some changes of the buildings and shoppers over the past sixty years, the usage of the market itself stays pretty much the same. The character of the market hasn’t altered much and seems like there’s isn’t much room for extensions in this dense society either. With lots of area development happening rapidly in London right now, this street seems to be left behind and slowly evolve in its own way.
Foxy’s Side Notes:
- The interesting thing about Chapel Market is that while there is a market there never was a chapel on site.
- J. J. Sainsbury opened the first branch of Sainsbury’s store at No. 48 Chapel Street in 1882 before it was replaced by the Sainsbury’s supermarket on Liverpool Road as today.
- Marks & Spencer started as a penny bazaar on Liverpool Road from 1914 and stays in the area until today.
- No. 74 (as in photo set no.3) is the Manze’s eel-and-pie house established in 1898. The signature interior with wooden seatings, black-and-white tiling, fitted booths and marble counters are still in use today.
- No. 99 (as in photos set no.4) is the former Pentonville watchhouse and fire-engine house. You can still see the large arched ground-floor opening for the fire-engine. The building is said to be a rare surviving example of an early fire engine house.