Ridley Road Market

“When I first walked Ridley Road with my camera I was living just a few minutes from the market. I kept returning to it for eight years. This book, of narratives recorded in the market, of materials I collected and those donated to me alongside my own photographs, attempts to piece together what it is that makes this place unique.”

Ridley Road Market has been serving the diverse communities of Dalston in East London since the 1880s. Sociologist Sophie Watson describes the market as a “hub of connection, interconnections and social interaction”. This book developed during an eight-year engagement with Ridley Road in which I switched roles between photographer, market trader and oral historian. Weaving together photographs, archival materials, personal narratives, newspaper cuttings and a series of postcards, this book comprises an exploration of the street’s social and material fabric and a collective writing of the many histories that have unfolded here. The multitude of voices within these pages address threats such as gentrification but also unite in appreciation of Ridley Road as a precious cultural and social space. During this project, I ran a market stall trading photo postcards for oral histories of the market.

This book contains 85 of my colour photographs, the same amount of archival and donated photographs and over 150 personal narratives of local people and traders. Over 200 people have contributed and supported this project by sharing their personal photographs and stories. Hackney Archives and Rio Cinema Archive kindly allowed the use of their archival photographs. “Ridley Road Market” was self-published with the help of a crowdfunding campaign in 2019. I returned copies of the book to the market where they have been available for sale at Party Party, 9-13 Ridley Road, in support of the Save Ridley Road campaign. 

Designed by Jörg Schwertfeger

Distributed by Antenne Books and available in selected bookshops 

All content © 2012-2020 Tamara Rabea Stoll. All rights reserved.