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Len, L.A. Carr Shoes Repairs & Key Cutting

  • Year Invented: 2018

L.A. Carr Shoes Repairs & Key Cutting has been open for ten years. The story of how Len, the owner, acquired to store is a charming one. Len had lived and worked in Brixton for 30 years and had his mortgage with Northern Rock. When the building society fell through, Len began to look to move, and made an appointment with Northwoods Estate Agent in South Norwood. While he was waiting for his appointment, he sat an admired the high street and thought it would be a great place to open his next venture. After his appointment in the estate agent, Len asked about if they had any shops in the area for rent but unfortunately they didn’t. As Len went to leave the store, another gentleman was coming into the business, and did the classic dance of trying to step from side to side to let the other pass. It just so happened that the gentleman he had bumped into when he left was going into the estate agent as he had a shop to let. This soon became L.A. Carr Shoes Repairs & Key Cutting.

Len would like to see more parking and better transport to help South Norwood develop. He believes the area is not best accessible for people to come to due to the lack of networks and short term parking. There are plenty of great places for people to explore, shop and get their hair or nails done, but there needs to be a means of doing this. Len also highly recommends a visit to South Norwood lakes for anyone visiting the area.

This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.

From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.

South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.

The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.

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