Borough Market: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°30′17.67″N 0°5′27.92″W / 51.5049083°N 0.0910889°W / 51.5049083; -0.0910889

Borough Market, 2007

Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, South East London, England. It is one of the largest food markets in the world, and is regarded by some as one of the highest quality markets in the United Kingdom, selling a large variety of foods from all around the world[1].


Information and History

Borough Market cake stall

The wholesale market operates on all weekday mornings from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., but the retail market operates only on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market, which has focused historically on fruits and vegetables, has, in recent years, added stalls dealing with the fine food retail market.[1]

Since the beginning of 2000, some of the market's most famous traders include Artisan Bakers DeGustibus, Furness Fish & Game Supplies, Peter Gott and Sillfield Farm, and the Spanish company Brindisa.

The present market, located on Southwark Street and Borough High Street just south of Southwark Cathedral on the southern end of London Bridge, is a successor to one that originally adjoined the end of London Bridge (and made a considerable nuisance of itself in the process). It was first mentioned in 1276, although the market itself claims to have existed since Roman times and was subsequently moved south of St Margaret's church on the High Street. The City of London received a royal charter from Edward VI in 1550 to control all markets in Southwark (see Guildable Manor), which was confirmed by Charles II in 1671. However, the market caused such traffic congestion that in 1754 it was abolished by an Act of Parliament.[1][2 ]

Borough Market circa 1860

The Act allowed for the local parishioners to set up another market on a new site, and in 1756 it began again on a 4.5 acre (18,000 m²) site in Rochester Yard[1][2 ]. During the 19th century it became one of London's most important food markets due to its strategic position near the riverside wharves of the Pool of London[1].

The present buildings were designed in 1851, with additions in the 1860s and an entrance designed in the Art Deco style added on Southwark Street in 1932. A refurbishment began in 2001. Work to date includes the re-erection in 2004 of the South Portico from the Floral Hall, previously at Covent Garden which was dismantled when the Royal Opera House was reconstructed in the 1990s[1].

Vegetable stall

Stallholders come to trade at the market from different parts of the UK and traditional European products are also shipped over and sold. Amongst the produce on sale are fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, game and freshly-baked bread and pastries. There is also a wide variety of cooked and snack food on sale for the many tourists who flock to the market.

The market is administered by 16 trustees, who have to live in the area.[3]

Borough Market has become a fashionable place to buy food. It has been promoted by British television chefs and has been used as a film set. Notable films with scenes filmed in the streets around the market include: Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).[4]

Railway Viaducts and the Thameslink Programme

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 1754 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 carries on in the arches of the viaduct. Each time there is a railway expansion requiring widening of the viaduct the Trustees receive a full compensation payment. These windfalls have assisted in the finances of the market without any loss of amenity to it.

As part of the Thameslink Programme project (formerly known as Thameslink 2000), a large number of listed buildings in the Borough Market area are to be demolished[5] 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 is immensely unpopular locally and has prompted a public inquiry, delaying the project. However, it will remove one of the worst bottlenecks in the British rail network and improve transport options considerably over a large portion of London.

The Thameslink Programme will happen in stages over many years.[6] Green Dragon Court will see all the buildings that contain it on Borough High Street, up to and including Bedale St. demolished or lose the backs or upper floors in full. The leather shop on the corner of St Thomas Street will be demolished. In Tooley St., the entire side of the street up to and including Stainer St. viaduct will be demolished. Most of St Thomas Street side of the station viaduct walls and tunnels will be destroyed. The vaults and all the old station will be removed or demolished.[7]

See also


Further reading

  • Ptolemy Dean, Sheila Dillon, Henrietta Green and Dominic Murphy. The Borough Market Book: From Roots to Renaissance (Civic Books, 2004). ISBN 1-904104-90-8.

External links



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