Quack! Pop-ups to land on Malden Road

The long-ignored NW5 thoroughfare is about to host temporary galleries, one-off events and the Little House Kitchen cafe

Mallard in a Fisherman's Hat by Alice Tams.
Mallard in a Fisherman’s Hat: print by Alice Tams, one of three artists about to exhibit their wares at 6 Malden Road NW5. Image: Alice Tams
It’s forever been one of Kentish Town’s less celebrated stretches, although, lest we forget, a century ago it was a buzzing tram-filled shopping parade right up to lofty South End Green.

And now Malden Road is getting a welcome new injection of creativity to celebrate the dawn of 2015. From next Monday, not one but two new pop-up creative spaces are set to open.

'I Kiss You' by Tracey Emin was installed at 46 Malden Road in Feb 2011 by Zabludowicz Collection
‘I Kiss You’ by Tracey Emin was installed at 46 Malden Road in Feb 2011 by Zabludowicz Collection

It’s not the first time in recent years the street has grabbed the interest of arty types. Some residents may remember the Tracey Emin installation at empty shop 46 Malden Road four years ago. Part of a London-wide show by nearby contemporary artspace the Zabludowicz Collection, it was lit 24 hours a day, but particularly striking at night – especially from the top deck of the bus.

And now art of all descriptions is back in this corner of the postcode thanks to a new company called Urban Shorts. Set up by locals James Waite and Gavin Juniper to help local entrepreneurs, the team aims to focus on Gospel Oak and Haverstock to convert unoccupied council-owned retail premises into more colourful pop-up venues.


First up? A space right opposite the Fiddler’s Elbow, itself one of Kentish Town’s most underrated performance spaces. Occupying it from January 14 for three months is We Make London, an organisation offering a platform for designer-makers whom we have previously featured during their forays at Camden Lock. And from Jan 14-25 artists Cecily Vessey (pictured below), Alice Tams (Birds in Hats, main pic above) and Georgia Bosson will be running what they’re calling Studio Klubo.

Notepads by Cecily Vessey,
Notepads: Cecily Vessey.

Along with a smorgasbord of artfully crafted textiles, prints, stationery and one-offs for sale, they’ll be joined by the tasty-sounding Little House Kitchen Cafe, providing very decent coffee – and entirely gluten-free cakes and sandwiches. (You may know them from their alter ego roving streetfood stall, the Louisiana Chilli Shack, renowned for a very moreish ‘Cowboy’ cottage pie.)

Meanwhile further north, a little cluster of shops in Cheriton (corner of Queen’s Crescent) will be welcoming a series of artists’ collectives to number 25, beginning with Into the Wild, a new emerging artists’ programme at Chisenhale Artplace. The week of performances and talks starts on the January 19, culminating with a one night exhibition on Jan 24. Better still, it heralds a spate of events currently booked to run until April (watch this space for more details).

And finally, if all that’s given you a whopper of an appetite, we advise you check out ace new Malden Road Persian diner Reyhana. Particularly recommended is the Khoresht e-gheimeh badenjan (£5), a lamb stew with split yellow peas and dried limes cooked in a tomato sauce, and topped with sauteed aubergine: zesty and meaty, it’s a real winter comfort classic.

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We Make London are at 6 Malden Road NW5 from Jan-April, with Studio Klubo open daily from Jan 14 till 25. Into the Wild is at Cheriton, Malden Road from Jan 19-24 (we’re awaiting timings for events so will update this asap). If you’re keen to work with Urban Shorts, contact jwaite@gmail.com

  • Show Comments

  • Gearty

    lol gentrification coming for QC I see :'(

    • Carolyn

      Gentrification is a word well too used nowadays – if you are not sensitive to the arts please just pass! I think it is fantastic to see young and fresh initiatives from various artists. We can’t just applaud fried fish shops and Lidl openings.

  • Laurel

    Loving my manor more and more. Persian food and gluten free cake 30 seconds from me door 🙂 (plus the people who run Marmara on the corner are awesome)

    • queenofpies

      So…I put my money where my mouth was (?) Twice in fact and I’m sorry to say this but the Little House Kitchen Café is a bit of a joke. Do you want to spend £5 on a pot of tea for two? Or £2 for a tiny fairy cake made from a packet? I want to support local enterprise but not to the tune of £9 for a pinch of tea leaves and two small and unimpressive cakes!

      The prints in the shop are absolutely lovely though