Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

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August 28, 2010 · 11 Comments

Our morning started out great: a nice breakfast, an exciting market to explore, and a seemingly easy route to the Walthamstow market. Upon arriving at the Warren St station, we discovered that the Victoria line, crucial to arrive at Walthamstow market, was closed for engineering. We had been warned that we might want to check to see if all of the lines were working as usual over the weekend… However, we all took that as a “make sure you know where you are going” warning rather than a “look up the closed lines online before you leave” instruction. Oops. Once we figured out how to get to Walthamstow (Central line to Liverpool Street Station to catch the National Rail up to Walthamstow Central), it was a breeze. An hour’s worth of breeze, in fact. Once there, we quickly located the market, which was about a block away from the station.

Our destination, Walthamstow market, had a wonderful selection of fruits, vegetables, clothes, pots and pans, handbags, toys, lace, material, and other random items- all very reasonably priced. People arrived with empty bags with wheels to carry their shopping home. (One lady complained to a friend that she had bought too much and her husband was going to fuss at her.)

It was a very demographically diverse area, we saw people from various countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and India. In the couple of hours we were there, we heard at least ten different languages. The vendors themselves were predominantly English or from the Middle East. When walking around the community, we noticed a multicultural center, giving us the impression that the community was aware of its diversity and more than likely sought a way to embrace it. Around the market were more specialized stores, which included fabric stores, grocery stores, candy stores, a Pound Power store (everything was a pound; equivalent to the American 99₵ store), and most importantly, a variety of cultural restaurants.

On our way back to the Arran House, we decided to be just a bit more touristy and take a double-decker bus to see more of the area and London itself. Seemingly great idea, but like this morning, it became a hugely complicated decision by a number of factors. Firstly, we weren’t sure what route to take because we were unsure of where in England they would take us. Secondly, when we did decide what route would be the easiest, we were unaware that the bus station we were at contained two other platforms; therefore we assumed the bus that would be the easiest to get back to the house did not stop where we were. After waiting for an alternate bus, only to watch it get full and drive off, we discovered our original bus did stop there- just further up the street! We ended up taking the 48 bus to Liverpool St station, catching the Central Line to Tottenham Court Rd and transferring to the Northern Line to Goodge St. Can you say HOME SWEET HOME?

For more info: http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/index/environment/walthamstow-market.htm

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nvHDEVwQrjY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Video on YouTube

Categories: 2010 Jamie · 2010 MatthewM · 2010 Stephenie
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11 responses so far ↓

  •   stepheniem // Aug 28th 2010 at 14:57

    Here’s the link to the market video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvHDEVwQrjY.

  •   osterhoj // Aug 28th 2010 at 17:06

    Your trip to the market sounded almost more remarkable than the market itself. 😛 I guess I really should start looking up the Underground closures before traveling…

  •   stepheniem // Aug 28th 2010 at 17:51

    In some ways it was! Definitely check the closures- I know I will be, especially on the weekends!!

  •   maryc // Aug 28th 2010 at 18:13

    I loved that you all had quite an adventure going to and coming back from the market (although perhaps you feel differently)! I think all the travel confusion is a telling part of the London experience–it’s definitely an oddly organized city.

    In your video, although it was only a short clip, I noticed Native Americans playing music in the marketplace. I was rather surprised as they haven’t been thoroughly described in the articles we’ve read. Being an American History major, I am extremely interested in their background!

  •   stepheniem // Aug 28th 2010 at 18:27

    I agree with the adventure! It is part of the experience. The adventure coming back was especially fun as it allowed me to see more of the city.

    That is an interesting point about the readings. My guess would be many of them haven’t come to England, at least not in the way that other ethnicities/races have after the British empire ended, because of the connection to the land that many Native American cultures have. Therefore, there isn’t the post-colonial settlement dimension that exists with people from places such as India and the West Indies. It is something I’d also like to know more about.

  •   Elizabeth Barr // Aug 29th 2010 at 02:44

    I noticed a few 99p stores in our market as well- it seems they are common in certain areas of London (as in certain areas of US cities, I’m sure).

  •   Karl // Aug 29th 2010 at 02:45

    Nicely done. You’ll find that most of my “suggestions” are designed to improve one’s experience greatly. Lessons are often best learned from mistakes, and you have shown here things like getting lost are essential in discovering new things about the city and about yourselves and improving your abilities (in this case navigating the city).

  •   mattg // Aug 29th 2010 at 18:04

    In the video the clip of the musicians playing what appeared to be Native American music seems rather out of place in Europe.

  •   battilaj // Aug 29th 2010 at 19:03

    Do you have any idea what the socioeconomic status of the people there were? I’m trying to compare diverse cities in America to cities in London, and it seems like a thriving community compared to the expectation in America that communities that diverse would be in a ghetto.

  •   sarahb // Aug 29th 2010 at 19:33

    That must have been really interesting hearing all of the different languages. Were you able to place most of them? And were certain ethnic groups more partial to certain stalls?

  •   stepheniem // Aug 29th 2010 at 19:47

    I can’t say for sure without some stats, but based on my observations, I’d say lower middle & working class. There weren’t the major designers or store that we’ve seen elsewhere in the city that is known for higher incomes.

    I would say that the groups weren’t really partial to any specific stalls other than the ones which sold materials. These tended to be favored by the different groups that were most likely to be Muslim because the material could be used for traditional dress.

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