Search

Hoxton Market relaunch celebrates 330-year history of East End institution – but traders fear for its future

PUBLISHED: 17:27 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:51 26 June 2017

Hoxton Market in 1949. Picture: Hackney Archives

Hoxton Market in 1949. Picture: Hackney Archives

hackney archives

Hoxton Market celebrated 330 years of trading on Saturday with a relaunch. Emma Bartholomew speaks to traders at the East End market that is older than the USA.

Hoxton Market - officially Hoxton Street Market, though Trevor says few call it that - on Saturday. Picture: Polly HancockHoxton Market - officially Hoxton Street Market, though Trevor says few call it that - on Saturday. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hoxton Market is one of very few markets that still has an “East End flavour”.

That’s the view of Trevor Tapper, who first set up a fashion stall at the market in Hoxton Street 30 years ago, and who has run a toiletries stall there for the last 14 of those.

The 59-year-old’s memories of Hackney’s markets stretch way back to his youth, when he lived in Stoke Newington and would visit them with his mother aged five or six.

“Ridley Road was rough and ready,” he said.

“Hoxton was more of an upper-class market. There was more banter.

“At Ridley Road there was rubbish a mile high. Hoxton was always clean and there was a lot of fashion and fruit and veg.

Market shopper Joan Huxtable at Hoxton Market on Saturday. Picture: Polly HancockMarket shopper Joan Huxtable at Hoxton Market on Saturday. Picture: Polly Hancock

“You would go there and feel as if you were in the East End, but Ridley Road was like going back to the West Indies with reggae music and the food.”

Trevor who started working on the market aged 14 and had his own stall by the time he was 18.

A relaunch event on Saturday was held to highlight its past and to showcase the market traders’ products.

Hoxton Radio DJs provided music and entertainment, The Hoxton Trust opened its community garden, and guided tours and performances were laid on in Hoxton Hall.

The market actually dates all the way back to the 17th century. But little is known about its more distant history.

Archives indicate it was initially located in Hoxton Square when parcels of land were divided up.

"Hoxton was more of an upper-class market. There was more banter. At Ridley Road there was rubbish a mile high. Hoxton was always clean"

Trader Trevor Tapper, 59

The owners of the long lease, Ball and Brown endeavoured to establish “Hogsden Markett” on their property twice a week for buying and selling “all kinds of flesh, fish and other provisions”.

Trevor remembers when there were 250 stalls and it was the longest street market in Hackney.

But from the ’80s the thriving market began to lose trade with shoppers moving toward supermarkets. Since then, the rise of internet shopping and the removal in 2012 of free parking for the Olympics haven’t helped, either.

On Saturday there were an extra 14 traders on top of the usual 50 stalls, and Trevor admits footfall was higher than usual.

“But whether we can sustain it is another matter,” he said.

Trevor remembers “the olden days” when the market was very family oriented.

Trevor Tapper at Hoxton Market: 'Nowadays there is no young blood.' Picture: Polly HancockTrevor Tapper at Hoxton Market: 'Nowadays there is no young blood.' Picture: Polly Hancock

“In the past if you were a trader chances are your kids would end up in the market,” he said.

“Nowadays there is no young blood.

“My kids would never dream of working in the market – they can see how hard work it is.”

But he says the customers who have been coming for years keep the spirit of the past alive – and make it all worthwhile.

“When you are a market trader it is like you’re on stage,” he said.

“The customers are the audience and you are putting on your show.

Stallholder Belynda Carpino at Hoxton Market. Picture: Polly HancockStallholder Belynda Carpino at Hoxton Market. Picture: Polly Hancock

“The same people come along each week. I have little old women there who are 70 or 80 and I know what they are going to buy before they even arrive.

“They look forward to seeing you, and if you aren’t there they worry has something happened. It’s like: ‘Where is he? Has he gone away?’

“It’s like a little family. They have seen me grow from a little single pitch to what I have now and it’s down to them.”

But he added: “I do feel bad the way it’s gone from being so buoyant to so quiet, but I look at it like I’m one of the lucky ones.

“I’m in my twilight years, and I’ve only got another couple of years until retirement. I would like to walk down in a few years and say: ‘I used to be here.’ But if it is still here it won’t be like how I remember it. It’s changing rapidly.”

Hoxton Street Market is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm. Saturdays are busiest.

Related articles

Latest Hackney Stories

Arsenal hosted Everton at the Emirates on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.

Arsenal defensive legend Nigel Winterburn has been speaking to the Islington Gazette ahead of the Premier League match with

Yesterday, 20:48

Police have appealed for anyone who attended an 18th birthday party in Wilderton Road last night to get in touch, after a man was stabbed to death there after a fight broke out.

Premier League: Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Yesterday, 17:08

National League: Harrogate Town 0 Leyton Orient 3

Yesterday, 16:16

Brandon Peel put up a double-double (23 points, 16 rebounds) as the London Lions got their British Basketball League season underway in style.

Yesterday, 14:00

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Yesterday, 12:59

Emile Smith-Rowe has been speaking exclusively to the Islington Gazette newspaper after he made his Arsenal debut at the Emirates against Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League on Thursday. Read on for what he told Layth Yousif.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists