Old Spitalfields Market

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Coordinates: 51°31′10″N 0°4′31″W / 51.51944°N 0.07528°W / 51.51944; -0.07528

Old Spitalfields Market
Traders Market

Old Spitalfields Market is a covered market in Spitalfields, just outside the City of London. It is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The closest tube station is Liverpool Street.

Historic market[edit]

There has been a market on the site since 1638 when Charles I of England gave a licence for flesh, fowl and roots to be sold on Spittle Fields - which was then a rural area on the eastern outskirts of London.[1] After the rights to a market had seemingly lapsed during the time of the Commonwealth, the market was refounded in 1682 by Charles II in order to feed the burgeoning population of a new suburb of London. Market buildings were sited on the rectangular patch of open ground which retained the name Spittle Fields: demarcated by Crispin Street to the west, Lamb Street to the north, Red Lion Street (later subsumed into Commercial Street) to the east and Paternoster Row (later known as Brushfield Street) to the south.[2][3] The existing buildings were built in 1887 to service a wholesale market, owned by the City of London Corporation. Spitalfields Market was extended westward to Steward Street in 1926, destroying the northern extensions of Crispin Street and Gun Street in the process.[4]

The original wholesale fruit and vegetable market moved to New Spitalfields Market in 1991.

Modern market[edit]

Being at the centre of a revival in the area, the eastern end of Spitalfields retained its old charm in the Horner Square and Horner Buildings, which are Grade II listed buildings.[5] These market buildings were designed by George Sherrin for the last private owner of the fruit and vegetable market, Robert Horner and built between 1885 and 1893. The original Victorian market buildings and the Market Hall and roof have been restored and Old Spitalfields Market is now one of London's top markets. The market square of Old Spitalfields Market is a popular fashion, arts and crafts, food and general market, open seven days a week, but is particularly lively on weekends.

In the late 20th century, there was a dispute between the owners, the City of London Corporation and Spitalfields residents about the redevelopment of the 1926 market extension at the western end. The corporation won, and now a Norman Foster designed office block surrounds the western end of the site, after two thirds of the historic market were rebuilt to include restaurants, shops and a large award winning indoor arts and crafts market, called the Traders Market.

The Gun (a public house situated to the south of the market buildings) recalls Tudor times, when the Old Artillery Ground in this area was used by the Honourable Artillery Company to practice with cross-bow, and later guns and artillery pieces.

At the east end, and on the other side of Commercial Street is Christ Church, Spitalfields, a large Nicholas Hawksmoor church.

In January 2011 Old Spitalfields Market received the award "Best Private Market" by NABMA, the National Association of British Market Authorities.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Old Spitalfields Market Published 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  2. ^ Spitalfields (Part 2) From "The Copartnership Herald", Vol. I, no. 11 (Christmas 1931-January 1932)
  3. ^ Fiona Rule (2008) The Worst Street in London. Hersham, Ian Allan: 25
  4. ^ Fiona Rule (2008) The Worst Street in London. Hersham, Ian Allan: 201
  5. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (206456)". Images of England.  accessed 8 August 2009
  6. ^ "Parker Ward Ltd – Press release". Cision Wire. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 


  1. The East London History Society: Spitalfields history (Part 2)

External links[edit]