ARTS AND CRAFTS
Antique and Street Markets
STREET MARKETSarkets represent the oldest way in which goods are sold. The
idea is ancient, and many markets that continue today in towns and cities across the
UK have a long history. However, there are a number of markets which are
particularly historic and well known. What follows is a selection of historic London
Borough Market in Southwark has a history that predates the Roman invasion of
Britain. The site of London represents what was once the lowest fordable point of the
river Thames, and in pre Roman Britain trading activity was already taking place just
south of the fording point, in what is now Southwark. Mention was first made of
Borough Market as an institution in 1276, when traffic problems on London Bridge
caused by the market were recorded.
Although the market has moved a few hundred yards either side of the south end of
London Bridge during its long history it has always remained in generally the same
location. Borough Market has been on its present site since 1756. In the fourteenth
century, inns grew up to cater for merchants who travelled to trade here. The Tabard
Inn of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was one such inn. The George Inn, which stood
near the Tabard, was another, and in part this inn still survives.
• There has been a market at the site of Leadenhall off Gracechurch Street since the fourteenth century.
The old market was damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666, and it was in repairing the market that it
was given a roof for the first time. This was the Leadenhall that the eighteenth century writer Daniel Defoe
would have known. He mentioned Leadenhall in his famous novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719,
about a man marooned alone on a desert island. When Crusoe has a particularly successful day finding
food on his island it is of Leadenhall that he thinks: "Leaden-hall Market could not have furnished a table
better than I." In 1881 the roof was replaced by a new wrought iron and glass structure designed by Sir
Horace Jones. This is the market that we see today . Leadenhall is now a collection of shops, restaurants
and pubs. The market is popular with tourists, and with City workers on their lunch breaks.
OLD SPITALFIELD MARKET
In 1638 Charles I gave a licence for "flesh, fowl and roots" to be sold at a place then
known as Spittle Fields. This market continues to trade over two hundred and fifty
years later, selling a huge range of goods. It is best known for fashion, the arts, food,
The market underwent a major refurbishment in 2007, and visitors can now enjoy the
atmosphere of a fine Victorian trading hall.
Spitalfield Shops - photo courtesy of Spitalfields Market
• The area of Camden has been described the literature of Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Mary
Shelley- highlighting its importance to the culture of London.
• Regents Canal was built through Camden at the end of the nineteenth century. The canal was a vital
supply of produce for London- warehouses and production lines soon appeared in Camden where goods
were processed before being sent further down the canal to the City. In 1970 an idea to use the Camden
area as a market space was formulated. The British Waterways agreed to lease out some of the land and
buildings in Camden and Camden Market was born. The success of the Market brought more and more
stalls to the area.Today Camden Market consists of four separate markets, hundreds of stalls and many
permanent shops. The Market becomes a hive of activity every weekend and attracts shoppers from right
across the Capital.