I don’t want to dwell too much on the horrific terrorist attack that took place at Borough Market last month, but wish to acknowledge the way that the team and traders went about their business, reassuring the public, that Borough Market would be ‘Business as usual’.
Donald Hyslop, Chair of Borough Market trustees commented just three days after the attack, saying: “As we try to come to terms with what happened here, we know that the weeks and months to come will be difficult to navigate. Those people whose night was shattered by this heinous crime will need as much support, understanding and love as we can muster. Thankfully, these are things that Borough Market can offer in abundance.
“This is not just a collection of stalls, it is a community of people: traders, customers, staff, suppliers. It is an institution defined by its warmth and personality, a place of great diversity and openness. It is these qualities that will see us through this nightmare. As a community, we will join together to mourn those who died, offer strength to those who have been wounded or traumatised, and continue to defy those who believed that this happy neighbourhood was a valid target for their hatred.”
The market was forced to close for 11 days whilst police investigations took place. Reports suggest that the closure cost market traders £1.4 million, from loss of earnings and stock. Since the attack, a Just Giving fund has been set up by the market to support the traders. At the time of going to press, over £100,000 had been donated to traders, and the first distributions from the fund have already been made to 60 small businesses ,most in need of urgent financial assistance, with the second phase of payments being processed.
On the 14 June, just before 10am, the Market community joined together at the top of Three Crown Square for a minute’s silence. Suléy Muhidin, a community participation officer at Southwark Council, read his poem inspired by Borough Market,’ Keeping Tradition Alive’. The market bell was rung by traders and with mixed emotions, Borough Market was back in business.
Donald reflected on the day saying: “Getting here has taken a monumental effort in an atmosphere of great stress and sadness. Over several days (and nights—there are a lot of eyes with a lot of bags under them today) the Market’s traders and staff worked like Trojans to get this place cleaner than clean, restock stalls that had been left untended, and deal with the surge of press interest and public goodwill that crashed over us this past week. None of this would be possible without the extraordinary sense of community that makes this such a special place to work or visit.”
Many of the local food retailers rallied round to supply the traders with free food and drink whilst they were getting everything in place.
The following day, Prince Harry arrived, providing much needed support to traders and continuing the positive vibe around the market.
A month has passed since the atrocities took place at Borough Market, which have been somewhat overshadowed by the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Inferno and the attack on worshippers leaving a mosque at Finsbury Park, a stark reminder of London’s vulnerability but also its resilience and ability to pull together as a community.
If you have been touched by the events at Borough Market and would like to support the traders, donations can be made here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bmrelieffund