Goldhawk Road is a brilliant place to go fabric shopping. Not a very controversial statement, pretty much every London-based sewist with a blog has written a post on the collection of wonderful shops clustered round the station and rightly-so, rightly-sew. What is controversial though is the plan to redevelop the area and further the spread of bland-ness that threatens so much of London.
I usually go into all of the shops along this stretch of road to have a browse and see what new stock has come in but I tend to end up buying in the same two or three. I like the fact that when I get off the 72 bus I turn my back on the Westfield Shopping Mall and head to these mostly independent businesses. I’m not above High Street shopping but honestly, fuck Westfield, it’s got no soul.
Last week, I got chatting to the staff in Orya Textiles, 32 Goldhawk Road, and they told me about the plans to demolish the buildings between 30 – 52 Goldhawk Road. That’s his shop, Classic Textiles, Fabric House Ltd and loads of other shops gone, jobs lost and for what? Redevelopment and £770K private housing at the cost of the unique character of the area and many independent, family-owned businesses. Some of these places have been there for many years and, for many reasons, it saddens me to see this happening.
This has been coming for a while, see this 2010 article on the compulsory purchase order, and the Public Inquiry is underway right now. I’m not claiming to have any kind of detailed knowledge of this situation so this post is more of an emotional response. I’ve been following the inquiry via this facebook group and reading the statements from the traders is really very moving. I hope they get a result that will ensure their livelihoods and keep Goldhawk Road, Goldhawk Road. This is the same crap we saw during the Olympics and the Crossrail (bye-bye Astoria, bye kebab place at number 3 which did great lunchtime chips). Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things, I like new things, I like progress too but I like people and communities more and why does everything have to be “gentrified”?
There’s a lovely collection of videos made by Maree Pigdon on her 2012 trip to London in which she popped into many of the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road (not all of them under threat now). Enjoy them, let’s hope it isn’t the only way we’ll be able to.