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24 September 2014

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Handbags in Hockley
Handbags in Hockley

Close up on... Hockley

Interview with Hockley fan Jay Martin
Jay Martin describes Hockley as Nottingham's Soho. He tells Kate Collier why you should be tempted to visit his patch.

Profile : Kate Collier

Moving to Nottingham after graduation was an easy decision. When I'd come here before, to go shopping or to watch bands, I'd always really liked the city but couldn't quite put my finger on why. So now, whilst pursuing the unenviable task of trying to find a job I actually like (!), I spend a lot of time reliving what it was that captured my imagination to begin with. I love the fact that there is always so much going on, that I live in a city which bands that I like come to and that the bizarre is very much part of
the 'norm' in Nottingham - and no-one even blinks an eye!

After years of working in salons in other areas of Nottingham, Jay Martin, owner of Twenty Eight Girls and Boys Barbers & Boutique, found that the individuality and progressive ethos of the Hockley district of the city was the perfect location for his business venture.

He told us exactly what it is about the area he describes as "Nottingham's Soho", and even more fanatically as the "best part of the Midlands", that most appealed to him.  Here is why it is well worth a visit…

"Cooler than your average", it was the anti-corporate and eclectic mix of bars and shops, striking against the more run-of-the-mill high street brands, which first attracted Jay to Hockley.

Jay Martin - Hockley fan
Jay Martin - Hockley fan

The spider streets contain independent shops which, most importantly to him, embody uniqueness and quality. He enthuses about the long-running retailers whose clothes range from the high-brow, in cutting edge Belgian designers and Saville Road-style sharp suits, to embodying the vintage and alternative ethic of trend-setting

Many shops here buy and promote smaller brands which are on the up before they become overexposed. However, don't be weary that Hockley will exemplify the snooty end of cool; the warm and friendly atmosphere here makes the exclusive inclusive.

Jay Martin - Hockley fan
Jay Martin - Hockley fan

Jay heaps further praise on Hockley's evening atmosphere, stating that although he makes the effort to spend time in other areas of the city, he would never feel as comfortable elsewhere. Hockley is full of great places to eat and drink, covering varying tastes and price ranges.

Jay describes the area's nightlife as stimulating and cosmopolitan, declaring he is glad to spend both working and playing hours there. Clubs and bars with great resident DJs make Hockley "so much more alive than the rest of the city" and evening brings a tangible buzz to the area.

Jay Martin - Hockley fan
Jay Martin - Hockley fan

Just as Jay tries to constantly adapt his business to incorporate staff and customer ideas, his forward-thinking mentality extends to his ambitions of what the area could become. With the planned development of the excellent Broadway arts cinema to the future opening of an Oxfam Originals store, he envisions Hockley building on the Portabello chic it already epitomises. 

He would also like to see the area pedestrianised and transport links expanded to make it a real gateway to the city. With some active support for these admirable aspirations, Hockley should fulfil what Jay is certainly very persuasive of; this small area has a very big future indeed.

Take a look at Jay's part of town by visiting the Hockley Gallery - you'll find the link in the top right hand corner of this page.

last updated: 18/02/05
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