orthdown Road in Cliftonville was once a hive of activity, a roaring flame of retail and trade, yet over the past decade the embers all but died, save for a few businesses keeping the fire alive. However, like the proverbial pheonix it’s now rising from the ashes. No longer just second-hand stores, fast-food takeaways and estate agents, Northdown Road now features an eclectic and diverse range of shops and businesses. Here’s a small selection of the remarkable places this exciting and vibrant street has to offer.
A non-profit social enterprise, Clayspace is an authentic artist’s workshop offering ceramics and pottery classes, along with providing commissions and renting studio space. The owners, Ian and Bridget, have worked in art and ceramics their entire lives, and after visiting Margate decided to immediately sell their home and relocate here, wanting to become part of the change. Classes give the chance to create something tangible to take away whilst engaging in mindful and therapeutic activities such as sculpting and spinning. Clayspace is also actively involved in supporting the local community, working with the Garden Gate Project and Mencap to offer mental health rehabilitation through art and sculpture. clayspace.org.uk
When Dan, Jo, Emrys and Nick moved to Margate they struggled to find suitable studio space, so along with other like-minded creatives, they acquired the iconic Pettmans building in 2013 and made it their own. Resort Studios now hosts artists, photographers, writers, architects, fashion designers and printers, all within a community space designed to enable collaboration. Breakfast clubs encourage networking opportunities, and workshops provide training in using darkrooms, jewellery making and printing. The gallery space hosts curated shows and residencies, and outside events such as the Margate Bookie regularly utilise the facilities. Resort Studios also offer open days and workshop classes that are available to the public. resortstudios.co.uk
a stroll along...
THE GRAIN GROCER A passion for organic foods and family-friendly environments led Katherine and Wade to go into business together and launch The Grain Grocer. The company started in London's Crystal Palace farmers' market but has since grown and matured, and as a result The Grain Grocer café and store has recently opened, selling thoughtfully and locally-sourced organic food and ingredients. As well as striving for a minimal carbon footprint with initiatives such as a 5% discount to customers who bring in their own container for goods, their community focus and desire to give to the area is inspiring them to forge educational plans with local institutions and partnerships with nearby organisations including the Windmill Scheme. thegraingrocer.co.uk
TRANSMISSION With his extensive background working in record shops, Spencer and his partner Kimberley are perfectly suited to running a niche vinyl store targeting both listeners and collectors. The shop front has been restored to a design from 1952 and the interior customised with records, figures, posters and memorabilia. Priding themselves on fair pricing and a tasteful choice of vinyl, Spencer and Kimberley profess their love for Northdown Road and are working alongside many other local businesses to increase the sense of community. Transmission elicits a sense of childlike wonder with its retro feel, floor made from old vinyl records - nice touch - and varied selection of stock, and is a haven for anyone passionate about music. transmissionrecords.co.uk