The Stories of Brixton Village

2023 sees the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain on June 22 1948. On board Windrush were 492 passengers from the Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago brought to the UK to fill post-War labour shortages.

Whilst not all of the Windrush generation arrived to the UK on the Windrush itself, the ship has become a symbol of the wider mass-migration movement. Many of those who remained in Britain to settle permanently settled in Brixton which began the area’s association with Caribbean culture. Brixton Village has remained true to its roots since then and its Afro-Caribbean culture has only flourished.

Brixton Village
Credit: k_tjaaa / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

These are the stories of some of the remarkable individuals who have made significant contributions to the community and to the market’s rich history.

Fish, Wings and Tings

Brian Danclair of Fish, Wings and Tings
Credit: Fish, Wings and Tings

Fish, Wings and Tings has become a Brixton institution in its own right. Opened in 2012 by owner Brian Danclair originally from Trinidad, Brian had the ambition to bring authentic Caribbean flavours to the heart of Brixton. Fish, Wings and Tings serves up some of the best jerk chicken, oxtail stew, and curries in London but beyond offering outstanding Caribbean dishes, it is a strength within the community of Brixton Village. Where possible, Brian buys his ingredients from local suppliers, collaborates with other restaurants in the market, employs local people and is passionate about raising the food profile of SW9.

The restaurant pays homage to the rich heritage of Caribbean cuisine and to the Windrush generation. It was in Brian’s Grandma Valentina’s home that he learnt the importance of bringing people together with good food.

Esme’s Herbal Roots

Lurline Brown of Esme's Herbal Roots
Credit: Esme’s Herbal Roots

Lurline Brown is the driving force behind Esme’s Herbal Roots, establishing her business on Market Row in Brixton Village in 2009. Esme’s Herbal Roots sells daily organic Caribbean produce, offering high quality exotic produce while keeping Caribbean culture alive. Lurline is inspired by the resonating culture and community-led spirit in Brixton. She is keen to provide people with informed choices on how to eat healthy, and is also on hand to give advice on how to prepare or cook exotic food for any adventurous shoppers that choose items they may not be familiar with. Lurline has created a store that brings the comforting taste of home for those of Caribbean heritage but also encourages food visitors to step out of their comfort zone and explore Caribbean flavours.

Pasty’s Enterprise

Pasty's Enterprise
Credit: Pasty’s Enterprise

Pasty’s Enterprise is a go-to convenience store that has been providing toiletries, household items, and nostalgic Caribbean pieces for over a decade. The home goods store makes sure that the Brixton community always has access to the household staples they need. Pasty began her entrepreneurial journey under the guidance of her mentor and fellow Brixton Village trader, Mr. Martin. Pasty’s store has allowed her to share a piece of Caribbean culture to all of London.

Round Table Books

Round Table Books
Credit: Round Table Books

Round Table Books is a black-owned bookshop with Jamaican roots. They are committed to bringing stories of the Windrush generation forward and provide cultural education through their carefully curated selection of books. Round Table Books uplifts important untold stories of those who have shaped our society and who have transformed Brixton to what it is today. Their extensive collection includes work such as ‘The Thread of Gold: A Celebration of Black Womanhood’ by Catherine Joy White which celebrates the triumph of Black female resistance, and the picture-book ‘Granny came here on the Empire Windrush’ by Patrice Lawrence.

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