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A Rich History in Danger: Photographer Nathan Langman Muses on the Iconic Victoria Centre Market.

9 June 22 words: Nathan Langman
photos: Nathan Langman

For the last few months, Notts photographer Nathan Langman has been taking pictures at Victoria Centre’s iconic market - capturing the nostalgic simplicity of a long-running collective tradition. But faced with soaring rent and utility bills, many of these pillars of the community are at risk of collapse, and there is now a fear that this cherished city spot could be lost to history…

Recently I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the Victoria Centre Market, documenting the comings and goings of the shops and customers. It feels like a real time capsule, a glimpse into the eighties and nineties, and this conjures up a unique style of imagery. After a few sessions walking around and shooting what I found interesting, I found out that a lot of vendors were looking to leave the market, and a lot of stalls had already closed. 

Shortly after this, I read an article in the West Bridgford Wire which stated that there seem to be plans to close the market down, and I knew I had to continue to document it while I still could. 

As I was walking around, most vendors were either occupied with customers or busy doing work in the background. However, I did speak to Mary, who runs the book stall. She advised me that her father had managed this stall for sixty years, beginning in the Old Market Square. It had been Mary’s line of work for fifty years, after she first chipped in to help her father when she was only twelve. Mary told me that Saturday 30 April was the stall’s last day, and that they were looking to run their shop from home going forward, as the overheads – close to £1,000 a month – and lack of footfall were becoming too much. 

While taking photos, I was asked by a man at the alteration stand what I was doing, to which I explained that I was documenting the market, its vendors and its people before it was too late. He approved of my work and told me that he is in a similar position to the book stall, adding that the rise in utility bills and the cost of living crisis across the UK is making it harder for customers to justify paying for things which aren’t an absolute necessity. He told me a lot of the vendors can’t afford to stay open anymore, as rent and bills are going up and people can’t afford to shop, so their profits are going down.

Since I last visited, the fishmonger has also closed down their stall and relocated.

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