Photographer Mark Cawson, aka Smiler recollects the working men’s cafes he used to frequent when he was squatting in Kings Cross. He moved to Cromer Street in the early 1980’s and began living in one of the most notorious estates in the area. A haven for drug users, prostitution and crime the huge Victorian tenement that dominated the street was a dark frightening place. Fast forward thirty years or so and the tenement building has been renovated and turned into social housing; it’s seedier past long gone. Mark still lives in the area and I met him on a wonderful sunny day just a stone’s throw away from Cromer St where he told me more about life on the estate and why the cafes and their sumptuous menus played such an important part in his life more than three decades ago.
Story by Lainy Malkani