Sunday, 11 September 2011

Buy flowers on Sunday!

London is well-known for its diverse markets across the city but the Flower market in Columbia Road is one of the most charming.

The area became a focus of international attention at the end of the 19th century due to the haunt of the serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

From 1888 to 1891, his name was regarded with terror by the residents of London's East End because of the gruesome murders he committed, involving throat cutting, abdominal mutilation and in same cases the removal of the uterus.

Amazingly, his identity remains unproven today but his life became shrouded in myth and mystery through innumerable books, plays and films.

The area around Columbia Road has developed to serve the needs of a growing population due to the explosion of the Empire during the Victorian era.

There's an array of different Victorian shops built during the 1860s and full of character which add up to the whole flower market experience, selling gardening tools, pottery, interior design, jewellery and hats.

You also have plenty to choose from if you get hungry, the traditional English breakfast, Spanish Tapas and seafood.

The Flower market began as a Saturday trading market but as the Jewish population grew, a Sunday market was established.

The whole area went into decline in the 1970s and there was the risk of demolition but the locals fought back and saved the market.

Since the 1980s, it has grown into one of international reputation with over 50 stalls, selling everything from an exotic array of flowers, bulbs and plants.

Some of the flower sellers have been in the market for decades and a lot of them grow theiro own plants.

On Sunday the street is transformed into an oasis if foliage and colour and the air is impregnated with the flowers' scent.

It's funny how a particular smell may evoke memories of a childhood summer holiday. But our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than taste and therefore can leave long lasting impressions.

But above all, it's a truly colourful experience, watching trendy customers carrying bright loads of bouquets!

Columbia Road Flower Market
Every Sunday, 8am-2pm
Columbia Road, London E2