If you live in Gospel Oak or Queen’s Crescent, you’ll probably have seen the recent decline in the once great market street. And this is underlined by the fact that the thoroughfare’s flagship antiques store, Matt Townsend, is set to close this month.
“It hasn’t worked out,” Matt tells us. “I’m losing money and the latest increase in rent has made it impossible to continue. It has been four interesting, but unproductive, years: I had hoped that during this time the promised regeneration of the area would have had some effect.”
He says that all the meetings and representations with councillors and council staff have come to nothing. “The street market is dead. It has degenerated further since this time last year and now, with only six permanent stallholders on a Saturday, plus a few casuals, the market is at risk of total collapse.”
Since the Council took back the running of the market last summer from QCCA, Townsend says there is now “no market manager, no promotion, no events, no staff and almost no interest in saving this vital community asset. I have tried and failed to derive enough income to keep going and, without any support other than from loyal and interested neighbours and customers, I’m calling it a day.”
From July he’ll be storing the stock in two local lock-ups, and trading from these until any new opportunities arrive. “I’ll be doing Kempton antiques market every second Tuesday, and perhaps Spitalfields market on Thursdays.”
The sad thing? “Queen’s Crescent could be fantastic if properly organised and promoted,” he says.