North London Food & Culture

Pinboard: Celebrate 40 Years Of Kentish Town City Farm – plus Seasonal Offers & Markets Galore

1. A Must-See 40th Birthday Exhibition at Kentish Town City Farm. The original urban farm is 40 years old this year – still a firm favourite in our readers’ poll – and to celebrate they’re holding an exhibition charting the farm’s activities from its inception in the 1970s up to the present day. Says organiser Simone Uncle: ‘Using material from our own archives and newly researched material, expect local history, photographs you thought were lost forever, sound installations, and film. There’s even a ‘Do you know these people’ board! So if you’ve lived in Gospel Oak, you may well be featured.’

Kentish Town City Farm, originally City Farm 1, was the first city farm to be started in London by InterAction Trust in 1972. Since then, the former co-op has gone through a number of changes, managing to sustain itself through tough times while still offering a much needed resource to the local community’s children and adults, and specifically to its most marginalised members.

The farm was awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with a group of young people to get involved with the research, collection and documentation of the project, learning new skills from archival research to photography to filmmaking. Undertaking research around Kentish Town and Gospel Oak they spoke to people living in the area over the last 40 years, and to some who have been here even longer. Volunteers and residents alike reflected on their experiences of coming to the farm and recorded these on film, included in the exhibition alongside a host of footage past and present. Films charting some of the memorable moments from the farm’s beginnings and Gospel Oak in the 1970s to the present day will also be shown.


The Amazing Story of Talacre, by Inter-Action, shows the farm in the early 1970s – the then bombed-out site where they introduced play activities for the children of the local area. There’s also footage of Prince Charles’ visit to the farm in 1976. ‘We commissioned a local filmmaker to produce a documentary featuring local people who have lived and worked in the area since the 1970s,’ says Simone. ‘They tell the story of how it was, and how it is now.’ FREE admission. Open 17th December 2012 to 6th January 2013 9am to 5pm, daily. Look out this weekend for the Christmas Grotto too.

2. A New Mural by Mr P? The legendary Mr P – of Kentish Town station graffiti fame – is set to unveil a new work above Flaxon Ptootch tonight. It’s currently concealed but owner Michael is very excited: ‘Once the grand unveiling’s over, the party starts: Beans On Toast is gonna sing songs, hot chocolate and punch will be served – and there’ll be plenty of dancin’.’ If that’s not enough, or you’re a cheapskate and want a free gift for someone, Ptootch is also currently giving away free lunar calendars to any souls who want them. Just head on in.

3. Sing Properly Now. For those who love a Christmas singsong, on Sunday 16th of December St Luke’s Church in Oseney Crescent are hosting two carol services at 10:30am & 6pm. Last year’s service marked the re-opening of the Church after being shut for twenty years, and over 300 people enjoyed a mixture of classics, including an unforgettable ‘Silent Night’ sung by Kentishtowner and emerging soul music legend Michael Kiwanuka. This Sunday at 10.30 it’s Family Carol Service with mince pies and mulled wine, whilst at 6pm Carols by Candlelight boasts a full orchestra and choir arranged and performed exclusively for the evening by the members and friends of St Lukes.

4. A Seasonal Dining Bargain. There’s nothing better (and rarer) than a dining out offer in December, and fresh from their runners up status in our ‘Best New Opening’ category, Pizza East is offering a tasty lunchtime offer. Their 10/10 offer promises anyone a quick’n cheap midday meal for just £10, with both side and main (salad and mozzarella and tomato pizza, or the daily specials) being delivered to your table in a speedy 600 seconds (10 minutes, obviously). Available 12-5pm, Monday to Friday.

5. The next Kentish Town Kaleidoscope. Head to Doppio (at #4 in your Best Coffee Award) on Kentish Town Road (next to Pizza Express) tomorrow, December 14 at 6.30pm, as Andrew Whitehead invites us to dip into North London Fiction, filmmaker Elena Cosentino urges the viewer to tip one’s hat to the memory of Marathon Bar musical legend, saxophonist Dexter Whitehall, and then his musical partner, Bob Ellis Hawke will take to the stage and rip it up for the lively crowd. The first event was at Map in November and a sell-out. Email for more info.

6. Comedy with your Office Xmas Lunch? Shaka Zulu is offering something a wee bit different than the standard Christmas lunch. Next Wednesday they’re playing host to a comedy-tinged affair, where £29.95 per head gets you three courses and performances from some of ‘London’s top comedians.’ Interesting. So if you haven’t been to this subterranean cavern beneath the Stable Market yet, it could be worth a snoop. From 12pm, with the show starting at 1.30pm.

7.It Wouldn’t Be the Pinboard without an Xmas Market. Why not head to Queen’s Crescent’s weekly Saturday market to stock up on the cheapest seasonal fruit and veg, as well a fairly bargainous Xmas tree? Afterwards, you could pop up to Cabbages & Frocks market in South End Green for a vintage, edible or artsy-crafty gift or two. It’s at the leafy Garden Gate pub on the edge of the Heath and runs both Saturday and Sunday 11-5pm (both this weekend and next).

Words: Conor Fisk, Tim Sowula, Stephen Emms

Our final two Pinboards of 2012 will cover the best places that are open for Christmas Day Lunch (next thurs) and the best NYE parties (Dec 27). If you have any suggestions for these please email

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.