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Kensington Market

The famous alternative market Kensington Market was an indoor emporium of small shops in a spacious building on Kensington High Street. It was famous for gothic, punk, alternative, interesting fashion and all sorts of stuff! Kensington Market was a world-famous place for the unusual.

Then there was the time when traders in Kensington Market started getting customers to sign a petition, because the owners of the building were going to SELL UP! What? Eh? Surely not! As well as being a famous location, it was also a very lucrative business, bringing people into the area. Outside of Kensington Market, most of the shops around the vicinity were fairly conventional, and it was Kensington Market which stood out as being Interesting. So, well worth keeping, rather like keeping Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and Big Ben.

People said it was some commercial property developer that was buying the place, to develop it, and to put something there that would make money. Now let's get this right: The attraction there was Kensington Market, the famous alternative market, and that was what was bringing people to the area. Anything else put there to replace it would have to be pretty spectacular. But no, when I phoned to ask about it, they said it was going to be "two flagship shops" and they told me the prices. It made no economic sense at all. Losing a world-famous landmark attraction to put something ordinary there made no sense. So I asked how much they'd sell the place for. (The point being that it might be possible to buy the building and reinstate the market). The answer was: 50,000,000. To put that in perspective, the tower-block Centre Point cost a tenth of that to build, so we're not talking sensible money here. There is nothing that could be put on the site that would justify that. So, something else was going on!

A year later I visited the building that was Kensington Market. It was still boarded up. Another year or so later, and the whole building had been completely demolished. Remember: Money makes money, and money that is lying idle, especially if it's millions of pounds, is in effect losing money it could have made, even if it had been invested in a building society account! So, no-one in business would buy a building and leave it to make no money.

So, here's my idea about what happened to Kensington Market: I believe it was destroyed for Political Reasons. I think that someone decided to pay a huge amount of money to destroy Kensington Market so as to preserve the boring normality of the mundane world. Maybe it was the government that did it, so as to keep the culture under control, or maybe there was some hidden anti-individualist interest in selling bog-standard apparel, in the same sort of way the oil companies aren't happy about windmills and other eco-energy making oldfashioned fossil fuel look oldfashioned.

Interestingly, whoever did it, it didn't do them any good. Individualism is still on the increase, and most of the places that were within Kensington Market are still in business and have moved to other areas, Camden for example. Kensington High Street has been made a less interesting place, though.

Bearing in mind there is this evil force afoot in the world trying to get rid of alternative markets, we must be especially vigilant and make sure that it doesn't succeed.

There are rumours that things are going on in other places. It's important avoid Camden going that way. So, Save Camden Market. the reason camden market is Under Threat is not just because of the expansionist Underground Station, but also because of things going on on the other side of the road!

Meanwhile, if any news comes in about Kensington Market, or you see any developments going on there, please let me know. e-mail

News (2004/02): The place was left derelict and boarded up for years and was then demolished. Now a new edifice is being constructed. More about this at http://www.pinsent.com/press/press/kensington.aspx (gone)

I don't see this really makes any sense. How many computers do you think PC World would have to sell if they're paying over a million pounds in rent? Plus, office space? If you want an office apparently in London you'd be able to get it cheaper at CityOffice!

If you're looking for an alternative market like Kensington Market, in London, Camden Market is where the action is.