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Borough Market – 1000 Years old Market in London

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Borough has long been synonymous with food markets and as far back as the 11th century, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since.

In 1755, the market was closed by Parliament, but a group of Southwark residents raised £6,000 to buy a patch of land known locally as The Triangle, once the churchyard of St Margaret’s, and reopened the market in 1756. The Triangle, where you’ll find Northfield Farm and Furness Fish and Game, is still at the heart of the market today.

The market still feeds this core community and has grown to over 100 individual stalls. Alongside the original fruit, veg, bakers and butchers we now sell a huge variety of British and international produce.

All of our traders share a love of food and many of them make, grow or rear the produce they sell so now, just as in 1755, our customers know exactly where their shopping has come from.

The market ensures high standards of produce by employing a food quality panel of impartial experts who ensure that the taste, provenance and quality of foods sold here are all regularly measured and maintained and we support small traders to meet these standards.

With its vibrant and friendly atmosphere, Borough Market will always be at the heart of the local community. Its unique standing within the area has recently been marked by a Blue Plaque, voted for by the people of Southwark, marking its place as London’s Oldest Fruit & Veg Market.

From 1860, the railway operating companies desired to extend services from London Bridge Station into new stations at Cannon Street and Blackfriars in the City and link to the West End at Charing Cross Station. This required a viaduct, but legally, it was impossible by the 1756 Borough Market Act for the Trustees to alienate their property. The compromise was that only a flying leasehold was given to the railway company for the permanent way, but only for as long as a railway operates on it. The Market continues to trade underneath the arches of the viaduct. Each time there is a railway expansion requiring widening of the viaduct, the Trustees receive a full compensation payment. The last major such expansion was the 1901 extended bridge widening; the 21st-century works programme will also make its contribution. These windfalls have assisted in the finances of the market without any loss of amenity to it.

As part of the Thameslink Programme project, a large number of listed buildings in the Borough Market area have been altered or demolished,potentially destroying the historic fabric of the area. This includes parts of the market itself and much of the area appearing in the aforementioned films. This was immensely unpopular locally and became a contentious issue in the resulting public inquiry, which resulted in delays to the project. Eventually, the inquiry inspector was satisfied with the subsequent plans to restore as much of the market and surrounding area as possible. The overriding need to remove one of the worst bottlenecks in the national rail network and improve transport options considerably over a large portion of London meant that he accepted that some damage to the fabric of the market and surrounding area was unavoidable and justified in order for the scheme to achieve its objectives.

The market building on Bedale Street south-side has had its upper floors removed, as has the Wheatsheaf public house on Stoney Street for the new railway bridge crossing over them. The remaining floors have been re-occupied. The old Market glazed roof on Stoney Street has been re-instated and much improved. The most significant loss was the Smirke Terrace, Nos 16-26 Borough High Street, demolished in 2010. It was a Grade II listed building designed by the notable classical architect Sir Robert Smirke and completed in 1832. The most interesting survivor is The Globe Tavern public house at the junction of Bedale Street and Green Dragon Court, which is passed immediately to its north by the 1900 viaduct and the new bridge immediately to its south-side but with entirely unrestricted access to all sides at pedestrian level.

 

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