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Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London, England. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century. The present buildings were built in the 1850s, and today the market mainly sells speciality foods to the general public
The present market, located on Southwark Street and Borough High Street just south of Southwark Cathedral on the southern end of London Bridge, is a successor to one that originally adjoined the end of London Bridge. It was first mentioned in 1276, although the market itself claims to have existed since 1014 “and probably much earlier” and was subsequently moved south of St Margaret’s church on the High Street. The City of London received a royal charter from Edward VI in 1550 to control all markets in Southwark (see Guildable Manor), which was confirmed by Charles II in 1671. However, the market caused such traffic congestion that, in 1754, it was abolished by an Act of Parliament.
The Act allowed for the local parishioners to set up another market on a new site, and in 1756, it began again on a 4.5-acre (18,000 m²) site in Rochester Yard. During the 19th century, it became one of London’s most important food markets due to its strategic position near the riverside wharves of the Pool of London.
The retail market operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The wholesale market operates on all weekday mornings from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Three attackers from the 2017 London Bridge attack ran to the area, where they stabbed and killed people with knives before they were shot dead by armed police. The market was then closed for 11 days following the attack.
The present-day market mainly sells speciality foods to the general public. However, in the 20th century, it was essentially a wholesale market, selling produce in quantity to greengrocers. It was the main supplier, along with Covent Garden, of fruits and vegetables to retail greengrocers’ shops. Amongst the notable businesses trading in the market were Vitacress, Lee Brothers (potato merchants whose signage can still be seen in the market), Manny Sugarman, AW Bourne and Eddy Robbins. JO Sims, the main importer for South African citrus fruit (Outspan), were also located in the market.
Stallholders come to trade at the market from different parts of the UK, and traditional European products are also imported and sold. Amongst the produce on sale are fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, game, baked bread and pastries.
The market is a charitable trust administered by a board of volunteer trustees, who have to live in the area.
Borough Market and the surrounding streets have been used as a film location for such features as Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).As reported by the London Evening Standard, the market is available to hire for private events.
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