Kentish Town café fundraises to keep community spirit alive

MAP Studio Café manager Niall Williams

MAP Studio Café manager Niall Williams - Credit: MAP Studio Café

A Kentish Town café is asking the community to help keep it afloat and survive the Covid-19 lockdown. 

MAP Studio Café, on the corner of Grafton Road and Inkerman Road, says it faces a “serious threat” of closure without locals’ support. Its public fundraiser is aiming to raise £30,000.  

The independent business, which runs as a neighbourhood café and a recording studio, has stood for 30 years during which time it has hosted gigs, exhibitions and workshops while helping organise the annual Alma Street Fair.  

The recording studio has hosted artists including Roots Manuva, Miss Dynamite, and Dawn Penn.

Manager Niall Williams told the Ham&High: “MAP has been such an important place for me and others in the community. I grew up in Kentish Town and recorded my first song there at 14.  

“I have worked with its owner Chris since 2016 and last year we did all we could to stave off asking for community support. 


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“However MAP has always relied on our customers from school runs, work lunches, gigs and studio sessions, and without this we are facing our biggest threat of closure to date.” 

MAP owner Chris Townsend

MAP owner Chris Townsend - Credit: MAP Studio Café

MAP, which has employed more than 500 people is owned by Chris Townsend, whose first company Fifth Column - founded in 1977 - printed t-shirts and merchandise for bands including The Clash, The Jam, and The Damned.  

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During the 1980s the Kentish Town businessman worked on anti-apartheid and liberation campaigns for Oxfam and other charities. 

His factory was based above Kentish Town underground station, now occupied by Mexican food chain Wahaca, where you can still spot the ink on the walls from its former life. 

When Chris left the company in 1989 he took on the building that is now MAP, running it as a printing company and a studio.  

In 2005 the printing house was turned into a café, as the studio remained. 

Inside the longstanding neighbourhood venue

Inside the longstanding neighbourhood venue - Credit: MAP Studio Café

Niall added: “We're overwhelmed by the support shown so far, it's really warmed the cockles of Chris' heart and was a big surprise to him.  

“All we want is to be able to continue offering our space to all when we are able to do so, and every bit of help we get during this time will make that future wish possible.” 

To donate to the fundraiser visit https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-save-map-cafe?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_gr4y+help-save-map-cafe  

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