Greenwich Market

In a place built around the scientific notion
Of Time, its applications and philosophy
Let’s celebrate a space of perpetual motion,
Of buying, selling and the distinct possibility
Of finding perfect fashion, exquisite art,
As hours seem to slow to a walking pace
There’s such a lot here you don’t know where to start:
With flatbread or a burger to fill your face
Or a sculpture or a posy or a hand-made gift.
An ancient human instinct: the money for the goods
In a setting like this always gives your heart a lift;
For hundreds of years this is what we’ve understood,
Perfect as the moment of a tightly-fitting rhyme;
Here we are in GMT: Greenwich Market Time!

This is a not unfamiliar story of a declining market being turned around as part of a co-ordinated regeneration project. This particular market is unique as it sits within a World Heritage Site owned by Greenwich Hospital. But it is buried in an urban block and for many years was largely unvisited. There are benefits in having one landowner capable of making planned and co-ordinated improvements, in this case in critical partnership with the local borough. The project sought to improve the context for the experience of the wider heritage site and to deliver the benefits of this exceptionally successful tourist destination to a wider community and the people of the town. There is no question that the transformation has been very successful. In 1985, the market had been reduced to an ad hoc event one day a week. Now it operates seven days a week selling crafts, collectables and street food. There is 20,000 sq ft of trading space and 200 regular stall holders.

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