Groupe Gerauds – Brixton Village and Market Row
Market Row and Brixton Village (formerly known as Granville Arcade) are situated in the London district of Brixton in the Borough of Lambeth south of the River Thames. As far back as the 11th Century, this area was recorded in the Domesday Book and was then known as Brixiestan, which means ‘The stone of Brihtsige’. These stones were used as a meeting point for communities and over the years the name was shortened to Brixton. Until the Industrial Revolution and the coming of the railways, Brixton was an undeveloped and mainly agricultural hamlet. However, the small settlement underwent a huge transformation in the 19th Century when firstly, in 1816, Vauxhall Bridge was opened, improving access to Central London, followed by the introduction of the railways and trams, which linked Brixton to the centre of London.
By 1925 Brixton was one of the best shopping centres in South London and the area saw a large influx of immigrants from the West Indies in the 1940s and 1950s. These communities have continued to contribute to the areas eclectic, multi-cultural feel ever since and Brixton is now widely recognised as the pre-eminent district of Afro- Caribbean settlement and culture in both the capital and the country. There have been Markets in Lambeth since the reign of King John in the 13th Century, some of them outdoors and several indoors. The two Markets that are being featured are Market Row and Brixton Village, which were acquired earlier this year by Geraud Markets.
Market Row: Market Row is located on Atlantic Road and was built in 1928 in the back yards of existing premises and the Market links Atlantic Road, Coldharbour Lane and Electric Lane. The interior is two storey and the avenues benefit from the natural light cast through the glazed and exposed roof structure. Market Row has three entrances and the arcades form a broad T-plan. The Market contains 49 ground floor trading units with separate office accommodation above. Some of the units are enclosed with shop fronts, a few of which retain their original fascias, others are open fronted with roller blinds.
Brixton Village: Brixton Village (originally called Granville Arcade after its developer, Granville-Grossman) is situated in Coldharbour Lane. It was built between 1935 and 1937 and formerly opened on 6 May 1937. It has an interior of narrow covered streets called ‘Avenues’ overlooked by two storey structures, similar to Market Row. It contains over 84 businesses including restaurants and links Coldharbour Lane, Atlantic Road and Popes Road. Two diverging, long arcades (First and Second Avenues) run from the entrances and are joined laterally, creating a ladder-like plan, by four more arcades called Third, Fourth Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
The arcades have pitched glazed roofs and contain an eclectic mix of shops on the ground floor, some enclosed with shop fronts, others open fronted with roller blinds. There is also a large amount of restaurants and cafes, which has persuaded the operators to continue with extended opening hours of late nights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays as well as now also opening on Sundays.
Both Markets open seven days a week, Monday from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday from 6.00 am to 12.00 pm. They contain 44 popular and diverse restaurants and cafés, which are bringing more and more people into the Markets. All the units are fully occupied and there is even a waiting list of over 190 hopeful traders wanting to trade there. Monthly meetings take place between the traders and market staff to discuss any problems that may have occurred and both then work together to resolve them. The close relationship between the two is clear for all to see as the traders cannot speak highly enough of the management and they know they can go to them with any issues that they have. With both the management and traders working hand in the hand the future for Market Row and Brixton Village will continue to be bright.
The Markets were refurbished in 1996, involving alterations to some of the façades and further improvements are scheduled to be carried out next year. They were recently saved from redevelopment when a successful campaign by the local community resulted in the Markets being designated Grade II listed buildings by English Heritage in March 2010. A white stallholder in the mid-1950s commented that it was the pioneering market traders who were mostly grocers and butchers that began to cater for the West Indian residents and that their arrival was ‘a shot in the arm for local trade’. As white custom decreased, those who began to sell rice, dried fish, dried pork and ackee, spices, beans, tinned yams and coconut butter and more exotic fruits and vegetables, prospered. As you might expect from an eclectic mix of almost 140 traders serving a truly multi-cultural community, there is a huge and diverse range of goods on offer. In particular, the vast array of top quality fresh produce on display at the fishmongers, butchers and fruit & veg stalls is a testament to both Markets’ popularity.
GM UK are currently 4 years into their 25 year leasehold on these two historically important South London Markets and there is a great deal of enthusiasm and optimism for the future of Brixton Village and Market Row. There is a buzz about both Markets and in such challenging times for the industry, Brixton continues to be a great addition to Geraud’s growing portfolio.
Market Operations Manager, Rachid Ghailane, told MTN, “Brixton is now one of the best areas in London to be hungry and glutinous; Brixton has one of the widest ranges of cuisine in London all under one roof. Brixton Village and Market Row Markets are the heart of Brixton, catering for everything from Cafes to Restaurants, to butchers, to Fishmongers, to mini markets, to fruit & veg stalls, to Vintage and fashion. Brixton Village Market is definitely something to behold.”
“Brixton has changed enormously since I started working here in 2001. It was always colourful and popular and still is but now I am proud to see how this part of London is literally thriving & booming. There is something particularly special about this Market and I personally love the international flavour and the diversity that has permeated everything from the tiny little boutiques to the unique cafes.”
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