Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, Central London, England. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. In 2014, it celebrated its 1,000th birthday.
The retail market operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 5pm, Fridays from 10am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm. The wholesale market operates on all weekday mornings from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The present market, located on Southwark Street and Borough High Street just south of Southwark Cathedral on the southern end ofLondon 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 (seeGuildable 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 present buildings were designed in 1851, with additions in the 1860s and an entrance designed in the Art Deco style added on Southwark Street in 1932. A refurbishment began in 2001. Work to date includes the re-erection in 2004 of the South Portico from the Floral Hall, previously at Covent Garden, which was dismantled when the Royal Opera House was reconstructed in the 1990s.
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, Eddy Robbins, Verde, AW Bourne and Elsey and Bent. JO Sims, the main importer for South African citrus fruit (Outspan), were also located in the market.