Learn more about our historic market, over 300 years in the making.
Nestled at the heart of London’s characterful East End, the streets of Spitalfields feature in the stories of many of the city’s famous and infamous residents, from Charles Dickens to Jack the Ripper.
The historic neighbourhood of takes it name from St Mary Spittel, a priory and hospital, which sat close to the site from 1197 (before being demolished after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539).
There has been a regular market in Spitalfields since 1682, when King Charles II granted a Royal Charter for a market to be held there every Thursday and Saturday.
For 200 years the market’s mix of sheds and stalls fed London’s growing appetite for fresh fruit and vegetables, expanding to trade six days a week. Its success led to an influx of residents, such as the Huguenots who settled in the area after fleeing France in the late 1600s, bringing their silk weaving skills to Spitalfields. Many of their grand houses still stand in the conservation area of Fournier Street, now home to local artists such as Gilbert and George.
Work on a new market building began in 1876 and was extended in the late 1920s, after it was acquired by the City of London. After 60 more years of continued success the fruit and vegetable market moved to its new location Leyton in 1991, where it could continue to expand.
Now you’ll find Old Spitalfields Market open seven days a week featuring a vibrant selection of traders, craftsmen, artists and artisans. While the centre of the Market is home to ‘The Kitchens’, serving up covetable street food treats, the smart surrounding restaurant and retail spaces showcase some of the UK and Europe’s most exciting brands.
But if you’re keen to ground yourself in the Market’s past, all you need to do is look up and enjoy the Market’s interior historic roof and exterior brickwork and iconic dated plaques.