Nick Lowles' blog

At day at the market

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 13:17

I’ve managed to have a bit of time off this weekend and with the sun streaming down here in London I thought I’d visit a few markets. This is where you find the real communities and get a glimpse of a changing London.

First port of call was Well Street market, tucked away a few minutes walk from Hackney Downs station. There is little to see here, well only three stalls to be exact, but it is more famous for who once was there. It was here that Jack Cohen once had a market stall before he went on to open up his first Tesco shop. The rest, as they say, is history.

The market stall holder I chatted to knew nothing of the Cohen connection to the market. I think he slightly misunderstood what I was saying and thought that Cohen’s stall was exactly where his is today. With great excitement he told this to all his friends, before turning to me and saying that he too would have supermarkets before long!

Well Street market is not what it used to be, not least because of the Tesco metro which now occupies one end of it. The irony of this was not lost on me.

It was back on the train and a quick walk over the Thames brought me to Borough market, clearly the number one eatery in the whole of London. I purposely avoided getting any money out before I went there because, as has all too often happened in the past, I knew I would come away with an empty pocket and a full belly.

My final stop was Brixton market, and this was probably the most interesting. I used to come down here as a boy. I remember being fascinated with the hat stalls and would stand around for ages looking at these huge colourful things. The hat stalls have largely gone, partly I guess because of changing fashion but also because of the changing demographics of the area.

Brixton is synonymous with the Afro-Caribbean community but this is changing, as Africans and other immigrants have moved in. There is also a thriving Colombian community in the area, as was shown by the rammed full Colombian café in the indoor market.

That is London, always changing, never the same. I can understand why some people are worried about change and nervous about the unknown. But I find it fantastic. It is the sign of a thriving city and one that needs defending against the BNP.

 Posted: 17 Feb 2008 | There are 0 comments

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