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.

3 comments on “London Gems: Broadway Market”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Are those live eels in Mr. Cooke’s shop? I’ve wondered about jellied eels ever since I saw a tv demonstration of how to skin them.

  2. Joyce says:

    Another post from ancient Joyce (56 next week!) – I used to go to an eel,pie and mash shop with my Nanny Riley when I was small. It was just off the North End Road in Fulham where she used to ‘man’ a flower stall for her friend, called Ivy I think. Every time we went she said we’d have angel cake but we never did. I was looking for a cake with sugar angels on it but she would buy a stripey confection of pink, white and cream sponge. It was years before I found out that is angel cake. Jellied eels are gorgeous.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Okay – I’ll accept the jellied eels. Angel cake is multi-coloured? So much more interesting, even without the dancing sugar angels, than the plain coloured cake made with a cup of egg whites that we have.

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