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The Changing Shops of Camden by Kaajel Patel

Elly and Pam at Polly's Cafe in Hampstead

Along the journey of collecting sticky memories and stories from our Camden Encounters we gained a lot of fascinating insights into just how much the urban landscape had altered over the years. It seems that the changes in convenience shops have been remembered and looked back at nostalgically by many Camden residents. One day Elly and I stopped for a coffee at Polly's a Cafe in Hampstead and got into a pertinent conversation with a lady named Pat. She vividly remembered just how different the space around the Cafe was when she began working there some years back. The street was now really quite modern with elegant Italian restaurants, children's hairdressers, high street shops and commercial book shops. Once upon a time the same street was filled with smaller privately owned shops like such as a picture framers, an opticians, a butchers, a veterinary, a flower shop, a post office, and a confectionary.

We realised this was a re-occuring theme that was told and retold by people of all ages, across all parts of Camden.

Here are a few sound clips from our Camden Encounter interviews highlighting experiences of shops participants felt nostalgic about...