Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as '2010 Sean'

East Street Market

August 28th, 2010 · 7 Comments

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0_N3ivscSJg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]Photo slideshow with narration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_N3ivscSJg

We travelled to the Market (located in the borough of Southwark) via the Tube’s northern line, which we exited at Kennington. From there, we proceeded to walk for about 10 minutes through residential neighborhoods  until we arrived at the Market, the main entrance of which was announced by a large lettered gate.

The Market, while not as large as many of the others London has to offer, was unique and vibrant. The majority of the goods were, somewhat unusually, clothing, shoes, accessories and textiles, as well as electronics, cosmetics, Cds & Dvds and other assorted items.

Many of the items were American-themed or American-style clothing or otherwise imported. The small amount of stalls with food were predominantly fruit and veg stands.

The vendors (and many of the customers- presumambly, the residents of the neighborhood) were typically either Jamaican/Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern or Eastern European, as well as a small number of Cockneys.

The vendors and customers engaged in an almost perpetual friendly sort of argument with each other: we overheard one conversation between an elderly Cockney vendor and his elderly female Cockney customer. After giving her his prices, he added “Tha’s cheap- betta than th’supermarket” and she replied snarkily “Tha’ ‘taint cheap- tha’s ‘spensive.” We didn’t experience much of the hassling that is typically found at marketplaces: we were pretty much left alone and didn’t hear

any creative vendor’s attempts to bring customers to their wares. However, on our way back were heard slightly more vocal advertisement and, on one memorable instance, a use of Cockney slang-insults to get attention: “1.50, hey, Lady wiff the mustache, over ‘ere!”

After we had covered the whole market (which stretched about 3 blocks) we explored the surrounding area which was mainly residential and consisted largely of low-income estate complexes (immediately recognizable through the tell-tale

sign of laundry lines across the balconies). Again, we mostly encountered people similar to the vendors of the market: largely immigrants or foreigners as well as lower class white Brits. While the neighborhood was relatively well maintained in terms of infrastructure, there were some physical signs of its standing as a lower class area: we found a telephone box with its windows smashed in and its inside completely covered in broken glass and cigarette stubs. In addition to this, many of the buildings were surrounded by barbed wire and a number of walls and fences were in a state of decrepitude. However, the area also contained some nice (but small) parks and at least two handsome churches. We were struck by several banners and posters put up by members of the community, protesting the borough council’s various planned developments to the area, some of which would encroach upon their parks.

Speaking of religion . . . in the market, we found about 3 Christian bookstands, alongside many self-help books by American preachers. We also noticed a large Muslim population with many women wearing headscarves and other traditional garb. We detected a strong sense of community among the ethnic/religious groups: there were many hairdressers and stores catering exclusively to the Afro-Caribbean women as well as Jamaican DVD/Music stands for the men. There were multiple Halal butchers and restaurants as well as fishmongers.

All in all, the East Street Market and surrounding Southwark clearly exemplify a vibrant, diverse and community-oriented place.

Tags: 2010 Elizabeth · 2010 Patrick · 2010 Sean · Markets

Exploring London: Marleybone

August 26th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Today for our tube exercise, we were sent in search of Marleybone, an area just south of Regents Park.  We initially had trouble finding the Goodge Street tube station, because it is actually on Tottenham, near the intersection with Goodge.  It took us about fifteen minutes total to locate the stop, which is easily withing walking distance.  Emily found the entrances to the tube to be more maze-like than any US subways, but we were successful at navigating and switching lines once underground.  We got off of the tube at Oxford Circus, which is named because of its proximity to an intersection with the same name.  People probably travel to this stop mostly in their leasure time, and especially to shop.  However, we later realized that we could have gotten closer to our destination by taking the rout to Great Portland Street instead.

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Much of the area was devoted to shopping and restaurants.  We could tell that this was an expensive shopping district due to the foreign brand name boutiques, and diverse restaurants and cafes (mostly not fast food).  These shops and restaurants were all on the bottom floors of buildings that fit an older architectural style, that followed a certain uniformity.  We noticed that the area seemed populated with mostly young people, but also individuals and groups that were diverse, age-wise and ethnically. Most of these people there seemed to have time on their hands, since they did not seem to be in a rush.  They seemed more likely to be there for the afternoon than for a short lunch break.

Plaque on a building, apparently dating back to 1863

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On one main street in this Marleybone, an entire block was lined with buildings with inscriptions such as “The Institute of Physics,” and “The Institute of Architecture.”  We were not sure whether these were currently in use as schools or parts of a university, but we did find evidence that schools have existed in this area for a long time.  A plaque on a tall red brick building that did not match up exactly with those around it dedicated a school to the father of the woman who founded it in 1863.  We would like to know more about the history in that area.

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Tags: 2010 Emily · 2010 Sean