Just south of the emerald-green Westport Inn, with its lively clientele, and rock ‘n’ roll karaoke evenings, is one of the more intriguing parades on Malden Road. Here you’ll find the first of two of the longest-standing businesses in the Wild West: Bob Sharp’s ‘Fishing’ shop, with its wonderful facade, owned by his family since the 1930s. A work of art itself, we think you’ll agree.
And right next door to Bob’s is the Court Service Station. In 1909 this site became the earliest cinema in Kentish Town, the Gem Palace Picture Hall. By the fifties it was known as the ‘Fleapit’, usherettes spraying pesticide between performances to kill bugs and flies. (Put it this way, you wouldn’t have caught Mrs Kentishtowner’s mum in there).
And now? Well, the cinema – renamed the Court – closed in 1958 and the service station that replaced it is strangely atmospheric, a little like a set piece in a Coen Brothers movie (note the missing letters in its name.)
“Just a little of the ol’ in and out”, as Steve Buscemi would say.