Monday, 26 July 2010

Last of the Real High Streets

Next to the bakery on Chatsworth Road is ‘The Shop’ – which has changing window displays but nothing for sale. The Shop is actually a home, and the owner readily admits he could never leave this ‘peculiar and wonderful street’. Made up almost entirely of independent shops, Chatsworth Road is a rare jewel among the homogeneous high streets of modern Britain. There’s no McDonalds here, no Gap, no Starbucks – just a roll call of unique businesses that locals love.

Paks Cosmetics, a Black hair and beauty shop that caters primarily to African Caribbeans, does a brisk trade, while a steady flow of customers buy fresh yams and plantains from the Caribbean supermarket next door. ‘Mighty Meats’, the local butcher of 30 years standing, and a tyre shop that has been trading for 50 years are typical of the treasured old guard. Stalwarts like the Kashmiri Kebab shop and Jamaican take away reflect a more recent demographic. And now, a new breed of outlets is multiplying.

See my full story about the 'Last of the Real High Streets' on