6th March 2005
106 Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG
Columbia Road Flower Market
Now it may look like this chap is going to more lengths than absolutely necessary to impress some impending liaison, but in fact we’re here on the corner of Columbia Road on a Sunday Morning and a few metres from here the weekly frenzy that is the Flower Market is in full swing – in fact it’s swinging fuller than usual today as this particular Sunday is Mother’s Day and there are a whole host of unimaginative males standing around clutching last minute bunches of something fragrant for (probably) the most important woman in their lives.
Of course, these days Columbia Road is much more than just a flower market, and it has evolved over the past few decades into a popular destination for arty Hackney-types for whom the flowers are just a colourful sideshow. Most of them will also probably have never heard of the original Columbia Market – an extraordinary ambitious Victorian mixture of grand market hall and social housing that fell into disrepair, got bombed by by the Luftwaffe and then (unnecessarily, it’s been argued) demolished in the 60s.
Anyway, The Gentle Author is a big fan of the market and the area, as is his friend Linda Wilkinson. There’s also a great documentary set in the local streets when it wasn’t quite the bijou neighbourhood it is today.
And, as is evident in our picture above, it’s a popular draw for some good quality buskers, particularly Gladstone favourite [nothing to do with Columbia Road, it just happens to be my local] Adam Beattie and his chum Brooke Sharkey.