Seasons move very quickly in London. Yesterday it was summer – the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and people rushed into the streets to delight in the unseasonable warmth. Then, suddenly, summer was over and this morning I woke up to a London covered in a blanket of brown fallen leaves and a doona of grey clouds. And so we enter Autumn.
Having come originally from a city that enjoys three seasons: summer, even hotter summer, and three weeks of a cool breeze and 5.00pm sunsets in the middle of August, I’m quite delighted to find myself in the midst of a real Autumn. The changing colours are truly wonderful and the moodiness of the London sky makes me feel like I’m in the sad part of an Austen novel, or on any page of a Dickens epic. But I’m mostly excited that real Autumn is here because it brings with it the promise of delicious, warm, hearty meals: stews, casseroles, pastas, curries, and delicious warmed beverages; chai tea, hot chocolate, perhaps even some mulled wine or hot toddy if one is feeling particularly indulgent. This promise of a new season of fruits and vegetables brings me to the point of this week’s blog post: the Broadway Market.
Having existed in one form or another since the late 19th Century, the Broadway Market is somewhat of a Hackney institution. It is most vibrant on a Saturday when hundreds of people from neighbouring suburbs – including J and I – come to do their weekly fresh food shop. Many of the stalls are what you would expect from a London open-air market: an amazing selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, florists, butchers, bakers (though sadly no candlestick makers), and plenty of locals offering their home-made cakes, pies, and preserves for sale. Intermingled with these offerings are a variety of stalls selling hot and tasty food from Samosas to hot pies, felafel to bánh mì, Ghanaian stews to vegetarian haggis – and everything in between! With such a variety of stalls – which also include books, home-wares, and a large vintage shop centrepiece – the sounds of haggling, of rattling change, and of the general hustle and bustle of the marketplace flow through the Broadway Market to join the sounds of the numerous live musicians who come each week to busk. Its liveliness, its sounds, and its variety make Saturday shopping feel like a street party.
Below are some photos I took of the market one Saturday whilst it was still summer. If anyone is wondering why the opening photo is of a cat it’s because it was taken a few streets away from the market, I didn’t really have anywhere else to put it, and I thought it was rather cute.