Saturday Market @ Camden Passage

Our customary fry up breakfast at Caf the Shepherdess, utterly divested of any healthy eating concept.
Still no one can eat like a zen-monk 24/7, unless you are the real McCoy…


Also, Hubbie’s weekend would not commence without a trip to the caf…


Therefore, there I was, accompanying him like any good wifey would.

After breakfast, we made a quick trip to a dry-cleaner and then drove to Mr.B’s vet in Islington for replenishing his food & treats. While I remained in Islington, vintage-browsing at Camden Passage, Hubbie swung by his office in order to bring home the images of my knitwear he shot the other day…


It is sad to report that the number of vintage stalls at Camden Passage is in a steady decline.


Despite the fact that antique & collectable hunting is the most popular national pastime in Britain, vintage markets in & around Central London are shrinking in size and scope.
Especially, those markets, such as Spitalfields and Bermondsey where the areas underwent colossal developments in the ’80s & ’90s, have ended up being bald patches in the midst of high rise buildings.

Invariably, the wave of re-development arrived to Camden Passage in the late ’90s. As the result, a much loved antique emporium & an enchanting arcade were taken over by high-street clothing chains.

The building, now occupied by Reiss, used to house manifold of antique dealers who individually rented a booth in order to showcase their offering…


Visiting the place was such fun – hopping between cubicles, some specialised in bone china tea sets and the adjacent one was a connoisseur of Art Deco jewellery, etc. The basement was filled with antique furnitures and vintage prints in all sizes.
One seller I remember particularly well was a man specialised in enamelled kitchen utensils.
Every space in his booth was covered with enamelled pots, pans, jags, colanders, ladles, spoons…etc, in all sizes and colours. They were displayed as such, like limpets latching onto every available surface. It was quite a sight and attracted a steady stream of visitors. However, the booth holder was not a happy chap. He complained loudly about the people taking pictures without permission. ‘They are tourist! They don’t buy anything! They just take bl**dy PHOTOS!!’, he fumed. In the end, he put up a sign at the entrance, “Photographing – £1.00”.

Another long loved building which became a victim of greedy landlords & developers, is now occupied by another clothing chain Jack Wills…


The building used to be an arcade which housed 20 or so antique shops.
The both sides of the corridor glittered with beautifully decorated shop windows and strolling through the arcade was such a visual treat.

The council and developer seem to be ignoring about the fact that the area they’ve redeveloped is now devoid of its original character which made the place famous in the first place.

How can Tesco stick up their ugly steel wagons against our iconic red phone boxes?


Much to my chagrin, this sight has been a semi-permanent feature in front of the branch of Tesco next to the aforementioned Reiss building.
Oh well, I shan’t complain anymore…

As usual, the passage was lined with stalls, mainly dealing with secondhand clothing,  vintage costume jewellery, fashion accessories, military memorabilia, books and ceramic…




A fledgling antique dealer, assessing a possible purchase…


She was very keen on this handsome rocking horse. Who can blame her?

This stall was something else…


I found old dentures amongst this jumble by accident! Eeeeekkk, how did it end up being in here??!!
If you want anything weird & quirky, this stall would be the one to have a good old rummage…

It is undeniable that the market has shrunk significantly since its heyday.
Still, the market’s future depends solely on how much it is cherished by the public. Therefore, we must never write it off from our “Saturday must visit” list. Who knows, may be one day, the passage will be overflowing with vintage traders and visitors again.
Let’s support our local markets!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

5 thoughts on “Saturday Market @ Camden Passage

  1. Oh how cute was the little girl and the rocking horse? Seeing that picture really brought back some fond memories as I used to have a rocking horse as a young girl. But nothing quite as nice as the one in your picture of course. Your breakfast looked marvelous, I always like to start off the day with sausage!

    • Vintage markets are the only place nowaday where I can find something interesting & unexpected. Otherwise, shopping becomes so predictabel & boring! Do you have any vintage market around you?
      Haha~ my Saturday breakfast, it’s so bad but without it, it doesn’t feel like weekend… (^-^;)

      • There probably are some shops nearby that sell vintage/antique items, I just haven’t taken the time to really look them up. I really need to do so some of these days and look for some treasures. I used to always eat sausage and bacon and eggs and potatoes for breakfast on Sunday morning, your blog post reminded me of it.

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