When I first came down to London many years ago as a young graduate from Scotland, I worked in an office block near Borough Market which was then still an old-fashioned vegetable and fruit market, with pubs that were open, seemingly, all hours of day and night. We discovered Davy’s Wine Bar and, as a group of graduates, we saved up and organised to buy cases of their excellent claret, then the best to be had in the area.
The fruit and vegetable market has gone, but Borough Market – the oldest market in London – survives and prospers as a speciality food market, especially on Fridays and Saturdays where there is an amazing array of exotic foods to be bought, some very strange indeed…
It is a rip-roaring success in an area of redevelopment, where you can well imagine the market having been lost for ever, despite Brigit Jones at some point living nearby. The area in which is located, Bankside, has been a troublesome area, a place of rebellion, with the River Thames separating it from the respectable citizens of the City of London across London Bridge. Here were the bawdy inns, the prostitutes, the criminals, the dockers, the gibbets for execution, and the warehouses for the Port of London.
Always developing its activities, the Market commissioned DLA Design to create a new flexible performance space in a backlands goods delivery area, Jubilee Place, including a new free-standing stepped auditorium clad in Iroko timber, under which a storage area for market traders is discretely hidden.
During the last week, as part of the London Design Festival, Jubilee Place has had flags flapping in the wind, designed by local artists and designers, responding to its rebellious and independent history. They will then be displayed across Borough and auctioned off for local charities.