Top 5 Facts about Borough Market in London


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Every city or town, and even every village has a prominent market. Borough Market is an extremely old market- over 1,000 years old! The market was in existence in 1276! The market is located in one of the most famous cities on the planet, London, in the Southwark Area. The market was initially outside the walls of the mighty London, by the River Thames and at the foot of the London Bridge. People from the city used to go to the area where hawkers sold their wares, which irritated the city officials, who, at some point, banned them from going there to buy things. In those times the London Bridge was the only entry to the city and was at the northern side of the river. this dispute was changed during the time of Henry IV, who granted Londoners rights to trade at the market in 1406.

Now, the market boasts of very fresh foods and animal products. This is the place in London where you go if you need to get fresh food for your kitchen, or just grab something to eat on the go!

1. An ever-changing market

Image: Wikimedia Commons


The market was established by an Act of Parliament in 1754 and is run by a board of volunteer trustees. According to the Act, it was expected to be used ‘as an estate for the use and benefit of the community forever’, which means that the Borough market is here to outlive all of us. The market, used to be a wholesale market, especially in the 20th century, but now, sells retail items to people; and does not only stock local stuff but international brands as well!

The market’s aesthetic is ever-changing- one might not be able to tell that it is over a millennium old since it has not been ‘preserved’ in a museum-like way. The colors and vibe changes with time. Most of the owners of the stalls in the market are people who themselves produce what they sell and when there, you will find authentic foods and wares! The city is always changing, and so is the market. The board of trustees however makes sure that the market runs well. They make sure the market runs well and adapts to the ever-changing trends. The positions are passed from generation to generation. 

2. It was not originally a part of London

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Borough Market was originally outside of the London City, and only became a part of it after the city was expanded. London city was confined to the City of London, and in fact, people from the city could only reach the market using the old London Bridge to buy and sell wares. The rights of the market were sold to the City by Edward VI in 1550, where the War of the Bridge Without, was created, an area that now housed the market. Bailiffs and Constables manned the market, controlling prices, maintaining law and order, positioning traders, and even inspecting the wares which were traded at the market. in 1705, however, the city people were exhausted having the way to the city blocked by part of the market and filed a petition to completely remove the market, something which did not go down well with the traders who asked that instead of the market being done away with completely, they should be allowed to move the market to a new place. The city agreed to the petition and asked the parishioners of the St Saviour’s Church to take over, and they raised £6,000 which they used to buy the Triangle Area where the market was relocated to.

3. The market has gone through a lot!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The market is over 1,000 years old, so there are bound to have been issues, squabbles, and issues throughout history! Because the market was initially not a part of the larger city, there is a lot that has taken place up until it is a big and important part of the city! The market was near the banks of the River Thames, and people could only access the river using the only bridge at the time the London Bridge. As time went by and as the city of London grew and expanded, the people who operated the market were against it being encroached and ‘swallowed’ by the city, many conflicts came up. With growth, every city encounters new buildings and infrastructure and when the railway was being built in the 1860s, Borough Market had to adjust to it, since it went right through the market. this was a positive thing for the market since many people could access it and it also got a facelift! Over time, many markets, supermarkets, and malls popped up as the population and development grew around London, which negatively impacted the market, but it has remained standing! The construction of the New Convent Garden, a huge in the 1970s brought disruption and a huge competition to the historic garden because many vendors and businesses shifted to the new market. 

4. It is big on environmental conservation

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The market has a huge stand on conserving the environment, and it does that through various strategies. It ensures that whatever is produced, consumed, and used in the market plays a role in sustainability. Every leftover, plastic, wood, glass, fabric is recycled, and nothing from the market goes to the landfill!

This is a very important issue not only for the city of London but the whole earth as well. After all, many things are sold here, which means there is a lot of waste from the businesses!

5. The bell

Image: Wikimedia Commons

There is a bell at the market, which, in the 19th Century, was used by the bailiff to announce the start and end of market hours every day. The bell is still very much around, and you should look out for it when at the Borough Market! Even though the bell is not used anymore, and is now just a historical item at the market, the Dutch and the bell was rung by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during the reopening of the market after it had been closed for renovations, in 2013!