Monday, June 18, 2007

What makes a good market? - Hackney & Walthamstow

Walthamstow market is the longest daily market in all of Britain & Europe. Started in 1885, it is often touted as a little piece of authentic East London. The reality doesn't really live up to the hype, though.

Walthamstow market has many good things: It's open every day. It's cheap. There are clean and accessible toilets. Shoppers are mostly locals.

So what's wrong with it? Perhaps it's best compare it side-by-side with a true little bit of authentic East London, Broadway Market in Hackney.

Both markets attract local shoppers


Broadway market

Both Have Authentic East End fare

Cockles and muscles at Walthamstow

An authentic jellied eel shop on Broadway market.

The difference in in the merchandise. Although there are 500 stalls at Walthamstow, much of the merchandise looks the same. There are no stalls filled with nice old junk. Instead, it's mostley plastic tat. The fruit and veg leave a lot to be desired.

The merchandise at Broadway market is a different story:

Vintage quilts

Artisan cakes

Homemade jams......

......and blocks of vintage and handmade clothing, old knick knacks and good old junk.

Walthamstow High Street, London E17

Broadway Market, London, E8


Anonymous said...

Walthemstow and Broadway market are two entirely different kettles of fish. Broadway market has historically been there for a long time but by 2000 there was only really a couple of fruit and veg stalls to call a market. As the area was gentrified and the crack heads and drunks that occupied the Cat and Mutton relocated, a young fashion crowd moved in. The market began again selling products targeted at the more middle class consumer. Organic meat and veg, great coffee and homemade cakes. Walthamstow market, which was never gentrified also changed it's produce to meet the demands of the increasingly multicultural, but still primarily working class consumer. In my mind, if you want a genuine taste of London and need to do some shopping Walthemstow, or Dalston market are fantastic. If you want a nice Saturday afternoon out Broadway market is a good alternative.

Rachella said...

By Dalston Market, do you mean Ridley Road?