I feel like I'm a Kentish Town person. I know the area, I know the people.
Before Matthew purchased a thousand-year lease on the Victorian unit in 1994, it appeared to have been a “hi-fi” spares place.
What was there before?
Before Matthew purchased a thousand-year lease on the Victorian unit in 1994, it appeared to have been a “hi-fi spares place”. “There was a series of soundproof rooms upstairs. It was linked to music systems and recording.”
In the 60s, the unit was a car showroom. Cars would be driven into the basement from the car park behind and raised on a single car lift onto the showroom floor.
What’s the story behind the business?
Matthew trained as a bricklayer with his grandfather after leaving school, until an estate agent friend asked him: “what are you doing sitting in your car, half the day waiting for it to stop raining so you can lay bricks?”. After looking around some properties, Matthew was convinced. Aged just 26, he set up Matthew James, the family business.
How do you sell the Kentish Town area to clients?
Matthew says the area “sells itself.” Opposed to Camden, Kentish Town is “a bit more sleepy, a bit more grown up.” The blossoming high street is also a selling point and there are “stations galore” for commuters.
Any funny stories?
Matthew once went into a house in Tufnell Park and was uncomfortable from the outset because of cameras outside and an overgrown garden. Inside it was “a bit spooky” and in the basement were three cells!
How can people in KT support them?
They already have a “really great core of repeat clients”, but they love people referring their services to friends and family. For potential customers, call in and have a chat.