September 24, 2022

Brixton [London] Village 1961

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brixton-village-plans-2009-1 brixton-village-plans-2009-2 brixton-village-plans-2009-4 brixton-village-plans-2009-5 caribbean-market-brixton-village-2 caribbean-market-brixton-village-4 caribbean-market-brixton-village-5 caribbean-market-brixton-village yuppies-out-champagne-fromage-2By Mike Urban From Brixton Buzz

See how Brixton Village looked in 1961 with Pathe’s ‘Caribbean Market’ footage of Granville Arcade

British Pathé have released some wonderful colour footage showing scenes from Granville Arcade (now Brixton Village) in 1961.

Granville Arcade was built in 1937 on the site of the former Lambeth Carlton Club, with the new covered shopping arcade offering over 100 small shops in tall covered streets called ‘Avenues’.

Built to the designs of Messrs Alfred and Vincent Burr, the arcade was named after its developer, Mr Granville-Grossman.

The arcades link Coldharbour Lane, Atlantic Road and Popes Road in central Brixton.

In 2009, a property developer submitted plans to flatten most of the old arcades and stick a 10-storey residential block on top of it (above).

The plans were eventually thwarted due to the fierce opposition from traders and residents, with Reliance Arcade, Market Row and Granville Arcade all receiving Grade II listed status (read the full story on the urban75 thread: Brixton Market redevelopment).

One of the reasons Granville Arcade was awarded listed status was because of its ‘historic interest,’ as the English Heritage entry records:

The well-known Brixton Market complex formed the commercial and social heart of the extensive Afro-Caribbean community that settled in Brixton after WWII. The successful adoption of the markets is the clearest architectural manifestation of the major wave of immigration that had such an important impact on the cultural and social landscape of post-war Britain, and is thus a site with considerable historical resonance.

[Champagne and Fromage, Brixton Village, October 2013]

Notably, much of the Afro-Caribbean elements of the market have long since vanished thanks to the rapid gentrification that has seen trendy restaurants, boutiques and even a champagne bar opening up inside.

The demographic shift in the last ten years has been so profound, some locals have wondered if more should have been done to preserve the essential character of the arcades.

For more on this story and video go to:


Related story:

Brixton Village – what could have been. Horrendous developer plans from 2009

By Mike Urban From Brixton Buzz

Although not all local residents may be equally enthusiastic at the recent changes in Brixton Village/Granville Arcade, I’m pretty sure all will be glad that this awful proposed development from 2009 was shot down in flames.

The plans would have seen the market’s 1937 facade being completely transformed and losing all of its original character, with a huge 10-storey residential block stuck on top of it.

Some of the arcades would have been “repositioned,” with a selection of shop units being dramatically enlarged to allow far bigger shops to be created.

Although the development looked awful and the notion of trashing the existing arcade thoroughly unpalatable, there was a few interesting ideas lurking in the mix, like the plan to include hundreds of solar panels on the roof gardens and the promise of a ‘potential new town square.’

Sadly, this notion seems to have since been lost in the mists of time, as the only new square Brixton has acquired is the gated, private Brixton Square development nearby.

A public exhibition was held in the arcade at the end of Jan 2009, where there was no shortage of extremely angry residents lining up to tell the developers exactly what they thought of the plans for their market.

Such was the vehement opposition to the plans that the developers and architects must have felt under siege for the entire duration of the exhibition, but it was good to see the community and local traders getting involved.

In the end the plans were thankfully thwarted due to the fierce opposition from traders and residents, and the subsequent Grade II listing of the structure should in theory guarantee that it won’t face any similar rebuilding schemes in the future.

For more on this story go to:



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