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Introduction: Urban multiculture: an ordinary orientation

The sign above the shop-front read, ‘Mixed Blessings Bakery. West Indian and English Bread’. The bakery was on my twenty-minute bus route from south London into the centre of the city, and from the top of the red double-decker 68 or 171 buses I could see the stack of oblong loaves that on cold days steamed up half of the shopfront. On holidays a haphazard queue would form along the pavement outside Mixed Blessings Bakery, while people waited to buy a warm, sweet piece of the Caribbean to take back to their south London homes. The bakery is one of many small shops along the mile length of the Walworth Road, and from the top of the bus I could see the dense, linear assemblage of these small shop spaces, and an array of people going about their everyday routines.