Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Walthamstow Market: A Tourist Free Attraction

August 22, 2009 · 6 Comments

Walthamstow Market

Walthamstow Market

This morning Megan, Mara, and Campbell set off for the Walthamstow Market in the center of Walthamstow Central. Walthamstow Market is the longest consecutive market in the city while by no means the largest. After exiting the train, we were immediately confronted by a large open grass field and a jumbo sized television screen in the center of the square. While this would mostly likely reflect a wealthy upscale neighborhood, the market itself targeted a more middle class to lower class clientele.  The majority of people within the market were locals who knew to carry cloth bags or small carts to carry their purchases. This particular market did not cater to tourists, and many of customers were also regulars at produce stalls and small markets. Most items were priced no higher than 8 pounds. The merchants ranged from Cockney to Afro-Caribbean to Middle Eastern. The customers were mainly older women accompanied by young children or older husbands. The market itself is one wide street with stores along both sides and then a center aisle lined with stalls.

Market Stands

Market Stands

The stalls housed “fruit and veg” stands, leather goods, key cutters, clothing, toys, house wares, and fabric. Several of the stalls carried the exact same goods.  There was a noticeable difference between the beginning of the street and the end of the market. Towards the front, closest to the bus and train stations, the quality of produce was better and the people running the stalls were mostly white British and then as we walked to the end of the market it became more ethnic. As we progressed, we began to notice the store fronts lining the market were not very well maintained. In the market itself there were a few cafes and food stands, including a rotisserie chicken stand, but the real food was found at the International Food Festival held at the forefront of the market.

Megan rides the kiddie rocket

Megan rides the kiddie rocket

The food ranged from Asian to German to Latin American, and after sampling goods from several stalls, we found that all the food offered there was exceptional. There were homemade breads and nice cheeses, as well as authentic sausage and even paella. The festival also had several children’s rides, including carousels, rocket ships, and a moon bounce. Megan found the rocket ships to be particularly exciting. The food festival attracted a number of families and couples, and for the first time since arriving in Walthamstow we discovered tourists among the locals.

If you would like to view more photos of the Walthamstow Market or the International Food Festival, please view our slide show:  http://s644.photobucket.com/albums/uu163/mliberty2011/Walthamstow%20Market%20Place/?albumview=slideshow

Categories: Campbell · Mara · Markets · Megan
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6 responses so far ↓

  •   anyasettle // Aug 22nd 2009 at 09:11

    Wow, your market sounds a lot like ours! Though the East Street Market doesn’t share the interesting characteristic of the quality of products decreasing the deeper you travel into the market. The Food Festival sounds great, too! Did you notice a difference in the quality of food in the market compared to the festival?

  •   2Dinternational » » Walthamstow Market: A Tourist Free Attraction Norwich Humanities … // Aug 22nd 2009 at 11:53

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  •   allisonmschell5 // Aug 22nd 2009 at 15:03

    Your market sounds like it must have been fun with the minimal tourists. Ours was very much full of tourists that sometimes it was hard to enjoy things with so many people around. When we walked out of the market area where we went, all the side streets had hardly any people on it because the majority of people attending our market were visitors. It would have been nice to see yours!

  •   madeleinea // Aug 22nd 2009 at 19:13

    I agree wholeheartedly with Anya & Alli, this sounds like a really fun and informative experience because of the minimal tourists! My group (Kim, Kelley, and I) stumbled across a variety of markets which, had it not been the beginning of Ramadan, would probably had the same feeling as your own market! Locals would undoubtedly frequent the shops and the overall feeling would be bustling, but quite intimate just as you described. I enjoyed reading about your adventures and I wonder how these immigrant areas first began and how the different cultues coexist in such a setting?

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