Old Spitalfields Market
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. 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. 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.
The original wholesale fruit and vegetable market moved to New Spitalfields Market in 1991.
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. 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.
In January 2011 Old Spitalfields Market received the award "Best Private Market" by NABMA, the National Association of British Market Authorities.
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- Details from listed building database (206456) . Images of England. English Heritage. accessed 8 August 2009
- "Parker Ward Ltd – Press release". Cision Wire. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Old Spitalfields Market.|
- Old Spitalfields Market - Official Website
- Old Spitalfields Market - English Heritage Listed Building details
- The Roman cemetery discovered during the rebuilding of Spitalfields Market