#StudentTakeover: ‘We are like a family at Camden Market’

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame - Credit: Archant

Camden Market’s array of stalls come in all shapes and sizes, but according to one trader “we are like a family who are always defending each other”.

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame - Credit: Archant

Despite experiencing a lot of changes over the last three years, with stalls coming and going at pace, Camden Stables and Lockside markets are still known for being colourful, vibrant and having a unique touch for every individual.

Before the Camden Market remodelling in September last year, there were a lot of small stalls that were not fixed, meaning that “everyday people” could set up their shop wherever they wanted.

Although this element of charm may have been lost, there is still the enviable choice of more than a thousand shops, stalls, bars and cafes in Camden Market for punters to explore in their quest for crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac and street food.

Valentina Romagnoli, a trader at the Baba G’s stall, said: “There is a range of colour at each stall, bursting with decorations and showing the culture and history of what they are selling.

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame - Credit: Archant

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“Lockside market is where the people come to Camden to taste the different foods that a community has built together. Foods from all over the world are being sold.”

Over at Other Side Fried Stall, Ahmad Tamim believes positioning is everything.

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He said: “Some of the traders are happy because they’ve got good spots, while others who got pushed into the corners are not really doing well.

“So it depends on your spot, but also on the quality of food which you are producing.”

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame

Camden Market. Photos by Kardeeja Warsame - Credit: Archant

Some feel that the remodelling changes made the stalls sturdier and safer to work in during the winter, meaning people do not have to layer up to make a living.

“In the winter we can come to work and not die of cold,” stressed Bruna Frezzarin Araujo, who has been at the market for five years as a trader at The Patate Stall.

The remodelling work saw electric wires made safer in the stalls, while there are doors for protection against the theft of tools, making it easier for the staff to leave their equipment in the stall overnight and on breaks.

Some say having similar stalls makes the market look organised, meaning people’s stalls are fixed to one place making them easier to find.

Bruna added: “The changes are good because now it’s very comfortable to work and we have proper shops, it is not only stalls anymore.

“This kind of change I think is good.

“If change doesn’t happen nothing will improve.”

However these changes have caused some traders to feel as if Camden has lost its touch.

Dario Indigeno, trader at Camden Lockside Market, La Churreria Stall and Nazari Stall, said: “It’s quite sad, because I’ve been here for three years and a half now, so I am used to seeing how things worked in Camden – it used to be much better and much easier.

“There is a danger in the market being globalised by the threat of big companies, so I think it is fair to say there is less soul in the market and in Camden in general, then there used to be.”

Gabriele Ribeiro, a part time trader at Camden Lockside Market, Bian Dang Stall added: “I think that it was unnecessary because it used to be like a street market, but now it’s quite posh.

“Everything is more expensive, they are closing a lot of stalls and they are changing the stalls from street food to posher food.”

But Valentina believes the market will never lose its community spirit.

“Camden is still amazing even though changes have happened, but as everyone knows, changes will always happen, they cannot be avoided, and they have been more positive than negative,” she said.

“Other than that the people of Camden have certainly added more colour into the market.”

For more information on what’s available at Camden Market visit camdenmarket.com.

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