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Nag’s Head traders pay tribute to designer who died from heart attack

Markets can be a bit like EastEnders with all kinds of characters, however she stood out to me, she really did

11 January, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Annie Curtis Jones

A STALL laden with flowers and a burning candle marked the spot where a beloved market trader would have sold her vintage clothes on Monday.

Costume designer Annie Curtis Jones had a stall at Nag’s Head Market in Holloway until she suffered a heart attack on Christmas Eve and passed away, aged 66. Ms Curtis Jones designed vivid costumes for the the Notting Hill Carnival which won numerous awards through the years.

“She was a beautiful soul and you could tell straight after meeting her she was very kind,” said trader Georgina Bull, who runs a jewellery stall opposite Ms Curtis Jones’s pitch. “She was very friendly, very soft and gentle. She was so easy-going and would treat everyone the same.”

Traders Janet Matti and Georgina Bull at Annie Curtis Jones’s empty market stall on Monday

Although she had only been selling vintage clothes at the market for just over a year-and-a-half, Ms Curtis Jones had left a lasting impression on the community who call Nag’s Head their home from home. Other stallholders including “D”, who did not want to give his full name, commented on her kindness. “She was very warm and friendly. She was a lovely lady who looked after everybody. Markets can be a bit like EastEnders with all kinds of characters, however she stood out to me, she really did,” he said.

Originally hailing from Wolverhampton, Ms Curtis Jones had lived off Essex Road for the past 30 years after training in costume design at Central School of Art and Design. She designed costumes for more than a dozen films in her varied career, including pieces for Young Soul Rebels, a coming-of-age film set in 1970s London.

On the film’s set, she met her lifelong friend Tammy Harewood, a make-up artist from Notting Hill who would later become her business parter. They started off selling clothes and make-up at car boot sales across London in the 1990s and would eventually run stalls together, including at Nag’s Head.

“When I didn’t have a car she would pick me up. She was so kind,” said Ms Harewood. She added: “You couldn’t speak to anyone more genuine than Annie and she wanted to talk to everybody and she was lovely to everyone. Some of the customers who were not so savoury loved her. She would give them money for a cup of tea.”

Ms Curtis Jones’s Carnival designs for the Elimu Academy – a Paddington-based band at the Notting Hill Carnival – have helped win them numerous awards throughout the years.

“We are shocked and upset by her death. There will be a gap this year. She never got overwhelmed, she was very calm and happy,” said Steve Shaw, director at youth club Paddington Arts where Ms Curtis Jones would prepare the dancers’ costumes. She leaves behind her partner Joshua.

Her funeral is planned for later this month.

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