, December 07, 2021

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Columbia Road: when every Sunday tastes like spring


  •   3 min reads
Columbia Road: when every Sunday tastes like spring

From a small bunch to a giant tropical plant, Columbia Road flower market got you! It is the main flower market in London and one of the city’s must-visit market. However, the East end’s flower market isn’t only a place to sell, it is a community. Every Sunday if you walk up Liverpool Street to Hoxton station you'll see a whole army of people with big brown coloured packaging, showing a few green leaves. How can you miss people with a smile wider than their face can hold?

A bit of History

Columbia Road has not always been a flower market. Indeed, in 1869, Angela Burdett-Coutts established Columbia Market as a covered food market with several hundred stalls. Unfortunately, it closed in 1886 and became the famous flower market afterward.

Back in times, Columbia Flower Market was a Saturday trading fair but because of the rising requirements of the local Jewish community; the day has been changed to Sundays. Good news for the Covent Garden’s and Spitalfields traders as they could sell the leftover stock from the week. Sadly, Columbia Road Flower Market suffered during World War II.

“It was because of the demand for food production, and during the night of Saturday, September 7th, 1940, a big civilian shelter beneath the market was hit by a German bomb”.

However, with the growing popularity of gardening programmes in the 60s, the market experienced a new renaissance!

Columbia Flower Market bursts into bloom all Sunday

Open every Sunday from 8a.m to 2p.m, Columbia Road colourful market welcomes 49 plants and flowers stalls, added to some extra ones such as antiques, garden accessories, exotic international foods, soap or even candlesticks.

“We always have the same traders, as all families run businesses. Many of the traders are selling at the market for the second or third generation of their families!”, says Rosario Rospo, trader since twenty years at the Flower Market.

A certain proximity with small and independent traders that regulars appreciate at this market. Quality, trust and the best advices are touted here at Columbia Road Flower Market. There are also many pubs, cafes and restaurants around, where you can take a fancy break while shopping. And don’t worry, the Flower Market never close, unless Xmas day, with the aim of always proposing you seasonal plants and flowers!

Credit: Chiara Harter

Since the pandemic, the market has experienced a new layout described as “more linear rather than taking both sides of the road”.

“However, we always get fantastic feedback from our customers, especially since the new layout has been implemented”, explains Rosario Rospo.

Any projects?

“Obviously, our goal is to make it better! We want a better shopping experience for our customers, and we are also working with Tower Hamlets services to help achieve this, as we have formed our own market group”, Rosario Rospo.

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