1. Owl Bookshop
3. B&S DIY Shop
With the UK somewhat of a world leader in bland identikit high streets, it’s refreshing to consider the range and calibre of independent shops on offer in the area. Votes came in for a truly diverse range of establishments, from the well-known to the gloriously obscure.
A strong performance came from Tufnell Park’s new grocers Fam Market, while KT veterans Ace Sports, Phoenicia and Morgan’s Stationary have many loyal fans. The Fruit Bowl outside Kentish Town tube is another of those places dear to the hearts of the voters for its convenience, range and jolly staff.
Ellen recommended Harrington & Squires “aka the quirky print shop on Fortess Road which sells lovely postcode postcards” as her particular unpredictable fave.
But it was the shear range of useful things on offer, all served with a smile, that swung it for third place winner B&S DIY.
Fiona summed up the local sentiment; “The Shop That Sells Everything, aka B&S DIY, aka Sam’s. They actually do sell everything, except maybe food, but if you wanted some they’d probably offer you their lunch, they are that nice. The heart of Kentish Town.”
Michael the hairdresser at Flaxon Ptootch was among the fans of our #2 winner, Earth, for providing such a broad range of whole foods and “for the lovely Steven at the cheese counter.” The shop is always bustling with people and in a few short years it’s become difficult to imagine what life was like without it.
But it was a true High Street institution that pooled the most votes, the beloved Owl Bookshop, a clear cut number 1 and a place of which locals are obviously immensely proud after 37 years.
Although not strictly a 100% independent entity these days, the careful hands of Daunt Books have preserved and improved the feel of assorted local shopping streets with exactly the sort of personal touch mourned elsewhere when the chains move in. Therefore their stewardship of the Owl has ensured Kentish Town keeps an all too rare, invaluable resource – and one that is thankfully not taken for granted by the enthusiastic locals.
Worthy winners? Glaring omissions? Tell us what you think…
Tomorrow: Best Happening
Words & Pics: Tom Kihl