With a history that dates back over a 1000 years there is a lot to celebrate when it comes to the wonderful Borough Market. Its exact start date is a little difficult to pinpoint but as we all know, once you’re over 21 we all turn into Peter Pan and remain that age for many years to come. And like most good things in life, it’s also fair to say Borough Market has matured rather well with age!
Borough Market is believed to have started around 1014, when it is noted that the area of Southwark was known as a Market town on the main route into London. In its early days the Market would target travellers heading too and from the city, perfectly situated between the shipping port and main route to the city to capture the passing trade.
There were two legitimate markets in the area, one situated in the grounds of St Thomas’s Hospital at the south end of London Bridge and the larger market situated close to the bridge in an area called Guildable Manor.
There proximity to the city was a cause for irritation for the city traders, due to the markets lower pricing impacting business and by 1270 regulations were put in place to restrict trade on certain goods to city residents. In 1406 Henry IV introduced further regulations and the Southwark markets essentially became an extension of the city.
Then in 1550 Edward VI sold Southwark to the city ending any debate of ownership. As London as a city grew, the markets location caused further problems as its market building was located on one of the main routes into the city and in 1754 a bill was passed for the market to cease trading at its then location by March 1756.
Southwark residents petitioned for a new Market and once permission was granted, a new site called The Triangle was secured that would begin trading as the previous site ceased business. It is this location where Borough Market continues to trade today.
As you can imagine with over 1000 years of history, the market has changed somewhat over the year. At its peak in the early 1900’s it was an incredibly successful wholesale market, providing produce for millions across the South East. But by the 1970’s, the development of New Covent Garden market and the rise in popularity in Supermarkets there was a huge decline in independents, which ended Borough Markets days as a wholesale hub.
The market as it stands today is impart thanks to the resurgence in Artisan foods, which began in the 1990’s, with the likes of Neal’s Yard Dairy leading the way. Thankfully Borough markets trustees saw the opportunity in specialist retail and so it’s rebirth began.
Today the market is an array of global produce, with many traders also producers and with the Bank Holiday weekend literally just around the corner, way not pay a visit and pick up some great British produce from one of the may British producers trading there. Yes, there is still time for a few more summer barbie’s or a picnic in the park and what better place to pick up supplies than this wonderfully historical destination.
And if you’re looking for recommendations, here’s a few of my favourites – why not pop by The Ginger Pig and pick up your protein of choice from a great British butchers. Get yourself a freshly baked sourdough from the wonderful Bread Ahead, which with a bakery on site, it doesn’t get much fresher! And if you have a sweet tooth you have to try their doughnuts, although be warned, one may not be enough! And hey, if you’re buying doughnuts then you must wash it down with a great cup of coffee from the Monmouth Coffee Company.
Yes, my list goes on but with so many great British Products under one roof, there’s a lot to celebrate! So having just tickled your taste buds, why not see for yourself and take a trip to Borough Market this weekend. Just make sure you take plenty of shopping bags! Oh, and might just see you there!