Five weeks in and Brockley’s Saturday market is booming. For an idea that was originally created in a pub just a mere six months ago, the market has quickly become a big hit with locals around south east London.
Held at the Lewisham College Car Park, the market provides a new place to shop, eat, socialise and support their local and independent suppliers.
The man behind the plan, Toby Allen, took what he calls “a bit of a hunch” when he walked through the car park and saw the site lying empty at the weekend. An idea was formulated in his mind the results of which were shown at the opening of Brockley Market five weeks ago.
Allen said: “I’ve always been interested in food and produce and there’s not much locally in terms of that. There isn’t a green grocer (though see Allotment which opens on Monday) and there isn’t a butcher or a fishmonger. I knew a few traders and I knew there was quite a lot of foodies around the area.”
He continued saying: “I’ve had a fantastic response so far from the locals, all feedback has been positive.”
The market turned out be a huge success, before the gates opened at 10am, there already was a big queue of people waiting to get in. All through the morning and early afternoon more and more visitors piled through the gates.
Diane Cowie, a resident of Brockley, who was weighed down with apples, potatoes, flowers and cuts of meat by 11am said:
“The market is a fantastic opportunity for the local community. I would rather spend my mornings here, than walking around a faceless supermarket where you don’t know where the product is from. You pay over the odds for substandard meat, fruit and vegetables. Why anyone wouldn’t want to support their local farmers, butchers and bakers is beyond me.”
Julia Rowtree, from St Johns, said that she was “overjoyed” that the market had come to the area.
Rowtree continued: “it has given local producers and suppliers a focus and the commitment to the market is fabulous.”
Tiffany Childs, the managing director of Sugar and Vanilla, a cake stall, said that the market was “a really good way to test new produce.”
After offering up a slice of delicious brown sugar brunt cake, she went on to say that the market has provided her with the excellent opportunity to meet local people and expand her customer base.
Rachel MacNicol, a mother who lives locally, was sampling some of Sugar and Vanilla’s produce. She said: “The cakes are lovely, I will definitely be returning!”
Lawrence Sinclair, owner of Dark Fluid coffee, another stall at the market, feels that although Brockley Market is still young, it has the potential to grow substantially as local demand is high.
Sinclair thinks that there is a community feel that is reminiscent of a small European town market and that it is just as worth visiting as a more established market such as Borough Market.
Sinclair said: “Unlike the big chains, I know exactly where my coffee has came from, I challenge anyone to come down for a ‘pepsi challenge’ so they can experience the difference!”
Brockley Market is located at Lewisham College car park, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT, every Saturday from 10am-2pm. Payments only by cash.
Follow Brockley Market on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/brockleymarket.