Borough Market

Borough Market, like its neighbour Southwark Cathedral, is a remarkable survivor with a long history. Though it is Londons oldest fruit and vegetable market, it has constantly adapted to the changing times and environment, and today is a vibrant, very popular market that offers a wide choice of the high quality British and international produce to retail customers, a foodie's paradise.

Its possible the market dates back to the eleventh century. Martha Carlin points to there being two markets in Southwark by 1270. One, attached to St Thomas Hospital, was held in what is now St Thomas Street and had previously been held in the grounds of St Mary Overie but had moved when the hospital moved after the fire in 1212. The second market was in the Guildable Manor and located on both sides of the High Street, running from the bridge foot to St Margarets Churchwhich was situated close to where the St Saviours War Memorial is today. By the sixteenth century this market was under the jurisdiction of the City of London, who received the profits.


Nearly a hundred and fifty years later, there have again been major engineering works as it has become necessary to build a further bridge over the market to carry two more tracks to ease the bottleneck of trains in and out of London Bridge Station. This has entailed some demolition of the market and surrounding property, and a new glass hall fronting onto Borough High Street has been erected. The Market is still run by a Board of Voluntary Trustees with local connections, and any surplus is passed to the London Borough of Southwark for the benefit of residents of St Saviours Parish. And still the Trustees guard the Market's monopoly jealously. In 2011 the nearby Vinopolis applied to the Council for planning permission to use part of its yard as a small wine and food market. The Market raised objectionsthat it would fall within the prohibited 1000 yards as defined by the 1756 Act and the application was withdrawn.


Thomas Allen, The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark and Parts Adjacent (Vol 4),1839
Martha Carlin, Medieval Southwark, 1996
Matthew Concanen and Aaron Morgan, The History and Antiquities of the Parish of St Saviour's, Southwark (1795)
David Johnson, Southwark and the City,1969

The Times: 3 August 1790
LMA: Minutes of the Trustees of Borough Market ACC/2058/1/18, 19. 25 & 26