Frustration as Camden Council takes four years and multiple attempts to install a tiny sign in Hampstead

Chris Turner with incorrect sign that reads Camden Antiques Emporium. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Chris Turner with incorrect sign that reads Camden Antiques Emporium. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Heathman has often heard the phrase “hidden gem” bandied about in connection with the Hampstead Antique & Craft Emporium.

Unfortunately, the traders’ attempts to become a little less hidden are not going smoothly – thanks mainly to Camden Council’s bungling (albeit well-intentioned) efforts.

After first asking for a sign on Hampstead High Street to direct people to the little-known arcade off Heath Street way back in 2009, the antique sellers were delighted to finally get the go-ahead for a lamppost-mounted “finger sign” earlier this year.

So there was disappointment when council officers managed to order one that could not be installed, because the clips for fixing it to the post were the wrong size.

A replacement was duly sent for and finally appeared a few weeks ago – whereupon the traders noticed that something had once again gone awry.

The council had got the name wrong – calling it the Camden Antiques Emporium.

Chris Turner, who is one of about 20 traders based in the emporium and who has led the long battle for the signpost, said: “We simply wanted to let people know we were here and I felt a sign on the High Street would be very effective.

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“Given that we have been working with them for about four years, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t get it right the first time around.

“When they didn’t get it right the second time, I was getting extremely frustrated.”

Speaking before another version was due to go up last week, Mr Turner added: “I will be happily surprised, given their track record, to see it correct.”

And surprised he was – for it was third time lucky for Camden’s sign team as the new sign was installed without a hitch.

Bravo to Camden and let’s hope it has the desired effect and helps to boost the emporium’s footfall.