North London's Cultural Guide

Video: Kristin Baybars’ ‘Little Place in Gospel Oak’

A rare look inside a truly magical shop, narrated by its long-standing proprietor

Readers have loved the last six weeks of videos made by North London Cares and featuring charismatic locals including an Elvis impersonator, black cab driver and 80-something runner.

Today, we’re thrilled to be able to bring to life a shop that many of you believe posesses truly magical qualities. Back in 2012, our ‘Life Tips’ feature with toymaker Kristin Baybars was one of Kentishtowner’s most popular interviews of the year. Now, filmmaker Alexander Osman has made a short docudrama that captures some of the unique atmosphere of her shop, with a rare cameo role from the softly spoken 80-year-old Kristin herself.

Kristin Baybars, Portrait by Tom Storr
Kristin Baybars, Portrait by Tom Storr

“The film started to take shape after I visited the shop with my daughter and was inspired by the stories and history of the place, as well as the beautifully crafted collection of miniatures,” says Alex. “Together with my creative partner, Justin Allder, we decided it would make a great little story – part documentary and part urban fairy tale.”


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They shot on location for three days at the shop on Mansfield Road, which has hardly changed in over 40 years. The seven minute film, titled This Little Place in Gospel Oak, and staring Alex’s own daughter, has just been accepted into the London Film Festival, hoped to be the first of many such showings.

“Kristin is a true original and a great British eccentric,” he says. “The shop is a reflection of her ethos and way of life. It is in essence an homage to the imagination of childhood. It has always – and will always – be run just the way she wants it.”

Read seven brilliant life tips from Kristin here.

5 thoughts on “Video: Kristin Baybars’ ‘Little Place in Gospel Oak’”

  1. Lovely little film – really gives you a feel for the place. I ventured there after the life tips piece was published and spent more than an hour marvelling and selecting bits and pieces for my niece and nephew. Kristin’s old-school cool.

  2. Kia Nordstrom

    Thank you Kristin for open this paradise for us all ! You are an Angel watering this treasure garden of Miniatures! I am so happy to have been visiting a few times. <3 Kia from Sweden

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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.