In my last blog entry, I wrote about some of the exciting changes in London’s culinary scene. While the city is clearly embracing and mixing cuisines of various cultures, it’s also good to see that its classics are still celebrated and easy to find.
While I realize that change is a part of life, what happens when we lose touch with our foundation, our roots? Just how important is it to preserve the past?
A few days ago I visited Camden, London for the first time in nearly 15 years. For those who have not experienced Camden, it was the center of all things alternative. If you were in search of something truly unique or handcrafted, Camden marketplace was the place to explore.
While revisiting, I guess I had been rather naïve in thinking it would have remained as it was a decade ago and therefore felt disappointed to discover that it had changed. Usually I am welcoming of change, but in this case, the result was unsettling. Camden is now dominated by storefronts full of cheap, tacky mass-produced souvenirs mostly imported from China that are far from being unique or alternative. With a few exceptions like the Cyberdog clothing store or some of the food stands, most of the storefronts and vendors from the past 30 plus years no longer exist. This is due to the fact that rent was excessively raised as a motivator to drive out its store owners and traders.
If anything, I would recommend visiting Camden for the independent food stands. Many options are available for those with restrictive diets. Through my photography, I have tried to capture some of the fading glory of Camden’s recent past.
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