London Gems: Broadway Market
In an unlovely part of Hackney near London Fields, a park described by my mate Martin as ‘All you can say about it is it’s an open space’ there’s a gem of a market.
London markets evolve very quickly from local beginnings (Chapel Street) to overblown tourist traps (Camden). Broadway Market is on the up and still has the balance right, although some Hackneyistas are moaning about gentrification, as if their credibility is somehow being damaged by the arrival of a bread shop.
The market is small, with a mix of organic stalls, a great fishmonger, pub, jellied eel shop, bookstore, ironmongers, cake shop and not too many ironic gift-places – on a freezing Saturday morning it also had some French singer-accordionists and a harpist whose fingers must have been falling off with cold.
Although food stalls are fundamentally similar in most of London’s markets, it’s good that each market retains its distinctive character. As supermarkets become more soulless, markets remain places where people talk to one another more than anywhere else. Although I could have done without the ranting bloke with the mad dog.