Broadway Market

Street markets are always colourful and inviting to outsiders. Whether it’s old ladies buying fruit and vegetables, teenagers pouring through vintage stalls or polo shirted lads wolfing down burgers. Everyone loves buying their food and clothes in the great outdoors. Markets reflect their customers and things get a little E2 on a Saturday as Yindies from all over London march along the Regent’s Canal towards Broadway Market.

Amongst the motorbikes, geese and submerged corpses in the canal is an Olympic fuelled gentrification process. With the unseen demolition of old landmarks raising memories like rubble. They are reflective of an era increasingly comfortable building unaffordable luxury homes. Erased from history these ruins will swiftly become aspirational flats with bicycle decorated balconies and parking spaces. No doubt they will become the ideal homes for middle-class refugees on their weekly pilgrimage to Broadway Market.

After being neglected for decades, the market was revived in 2004 and now has over 80 stalls running from the Regent’s Canal down to London Fields. People arriving from the towpath will immediately feel the iconic presence of F.Cooke’s Pie and Mash shop. The old mash store has been trading in the same premises since 1900 and serves traditional pie, mash, liquor and jellied eels to a new generation of Londoners. Back then a ‘jellied eel’ from Frank Cooke would be a good deal to most but the old Cockney dialect has since migrated eastwards to Essex.

A new demographic has taken hold and the social paradox is that while Broadway Market is a vintage mecca for East London fashionistas. They rarely mix or come into contact with the local working class community in the nearby housing schemes. Occasionally this spills into violence and last year’s ‘Bloods and Crisps‘ gang fight led to a 27-year-old hipster being shot in the back. While there are spaces that ache in the uninhabited air, London Fields continues to blossom as traders descends on Broadway Market to sell everything from sunflowers, oysters and spicy Ghanian dishes.

As food goes there is nowhere better in East London to satisfy your ailing taste buds. Broadway Market is awash with food stalls selling German sausages, wild beef and tangerine pots of hummus. If you do tire of eating from all corners of the world then vintage wares are not too far away. Extremely stylish women in their late twenties are regularly seen flocking past carrying recycled bags full of beautiful dresses, hats and last week’s copy of The Observer.

Attractive young women buying vintage French knickers is always going be a popular activity on Broadway Market. However, they are often ridiculously expensive and prices for knitted adornments are reflective of those who can afford to pay £145 a week for a room in Dalston. Unaffordable luxuries are nothing new in the capital and the London Fields hipster community are no different than their friends in Spitalfields or Portobello Market.

On buying products everyone appears to want but none of us actually need, Yindies are reflective of the materialistic values inherent in our society. Meanwhile the day passes and unseen labour begin to dissemble their iron poles, plastic covers and crates in anticipation of another pay day. Leaving behind a trail of exhaust fumes and debris for another week, there is perhaps, just something about human nature that turns everything into a routine.


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