The Backbone #1



After the cobbler at Upper Edmonton and the famous corner cobbler at Bruce Grove both closed down, Mum sent me to Cobblers Lodge. The prices are good and the brothers, Kyle and Luke Stevens – who both work there – are legends. Their father Neil Purton, has owned this shop for over 16 years and has been doing this job for 30 years. And 15 of those, he made shoes and continues to make orthopaedic shoes for patients still in the hospital. He’s worked on shoes for Coleen Rooney, the British Olympic team and people all over Europe.
What’s good: open most days, the lads will work on your shoes and hand them right back if it’s not too busy.
Cobblers Lodge, West Green Road





This shop has been around for 36 years. Bill, as he’s known in the shop, has been looking after my mum for 11 years. It’s the best spot for African and Caribbean stock – tea, Milo, seasoning and even sweet bread.
What’s good: if you like your chilli this shop will sort you out – in bulk.
Tropical Foods Cash & Carry, West Green Road





Peppers and Spice have been serving Caribbean food on the high road for around 29 years. They’ve also had a branch near Dalston Kingsland for over two decades. The food speaks for itself but you should be prepared to queue, the wait is well worth it.
What’s good: curry goat, patty, rice and peas – all the good stuff and Ameka (pictured) is friendly, sassy and just one of the funny chicks in the shop.
Peppers & Spice, Bruce Grove High Road




Super Star Dry Cleaners have been around for at least 15 years. My entire family have been going there since I was a teenager, if not before. The owners have changed in that time but they’re easily the best value in all of north east London.

What’s good: the lady who sits with her sewing machine is ready to stitch up hems, collars and just about anything that needs fixing. I’ve seen her tackle curtains!
Super Star Dry Cleaners, Tottenham High road



Just off Marigold Road is an incredible allotment but like all other allotments in London, it’s full. Most of the plot owners have been going here and growing since before I was born – well over 30 years.

What’s good: this community like to stay under the radar so it’s quiet. They are each fiercely committed to growing food, everything from beans to pumpkin and it’s all for eating themselves or sharing with friends and family.
Allotment, Northumberland Park

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