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In Brixton, up until 2009, the old Granville Arcade was just another of London’s many retail spaces in abandoned disrepair. That was until Lambeth Council and LAP, the building’s owners, called in Spacemakers, an agency that specialises in the regeneration of challenging spaces across London. The group launched a competition for local entrepreneurs, foodies, artists, and creatives to apply for a free unit for a period of three months in the newly re-christened Brixton Market.
To the delight of the regulars, many of the market’s original applicants – from old fashioned confectioners Sweet Tooth (unit 66) to French vintage purveyors Leftovers (unit 71) – have kept their homes in the arcade, alongside a selection of mouth-watering restaurants. They’ve been joined by new unit-holders like Emy of lovely interiors shop Brixi (Unit 7), a Brixton local originally looking for shop premises in Stoke Newington, who quickly applied for a space in the arcade when she saw the redevelopment.
By night, the arcade is represented by some (if not all) of its residents at its regular Thursday, Friday and Saturday ‘lates’, open house events soundtracked with live music – which could have a Latin, urban or just plain noisy bias depending on which unit is playing host – plus workshops, poetry evenings, shopping events and supper clubs.