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Great London Buildings: Covent Garden Market Buildings

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Covent Garden is a famous district in London that is known for its vibrant culture, street performers, and the Covent Garden Market. The market has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century, and the buildings that house it have undergone significant changes over the years. In this article, we will explore the history of the central Covent Garden market buildings and how they were rescued and turned into a tourist attraction.

The Covent Garden Market was originally established in the 1650s as a vegetable and fruit market. It was located on what was then known as the “Convent Garden” because it was an orchard belonging to the Convent of St. Peter in Westminster. The market quickly became popular and started attracting traders from all over London and beyond. By the 18th century, the market had become one of the busiest and most important in the city.

The original market was located in the open air, but due to the increasing demand and the need for more space, a covered market was built in 1830. The new market was designed by Charles Fowler and featured a beautiful iron and glass roof. The market was a huge success and became a landmark in London. It was THE wholesale fruit and veg market in London and had a culture all its own.

The architecture of the central Covent Garden Market building is a unique blend of Victorian and contemporary design. The market was designed by Charles Fowler and opened in 1830, featuring a beautiful iron and glass roof. The roof is one of the most striking features of the building and is made up of a series of wrought-iron arches that support the glazed roof. The ironwork is intricately decorated with floral patterns and scrollwork, adding to the building’s ornate appearance.

The interior of the market is equally impressive, with rows of cast-iron pillars supporting the roof and creating a sense of grandeur. The pillars are decorated with floral motifs and are painted in a soft green color, which complements the natural light that floods the market through the glazed roof. The market is arranged in a grid pattern, with a central avenue and side aisles lined with stalls and shops.

However, by the mid-20th century, the Covent Garden Market had fallen into disrepair. The market was struggling to compete with modern supermarkets and was suffering from a lack of investment. The buildings were in a state of disrepair, and the market was in danger of being closed down and moved to a better location.

In the 1960s, the local council decided to redevelop the area. The plan was to demolish the market and replace it with a modern office block. This decision was met with widespread protest from the local community, who wanted to preserve the historic market.

Covent Garden Central Market Building

In 1973, the Covent Garden Market Preservation Trust was established to save the market. The trust was able to secure funding and support from the government, and plans were drawn up to restore the market buildings to their former glory.

The market buildings underwent significant changes as part of the restoration project. The buildings were restored and updated to meet modern standards while still preserving their historic character. The new design features a mix of old and new elements, including modern glass structures and exposed brickwork. The result is a contemporary space that still pays homage to the building’s rich history and architectural heritage.

The restoration work was carried out in stages over several years. The first phase involved restoring the market buildings and reopening them as a market for traders and artisans. The second phase involved the restoration of the piazza and the surrounding buildings. The final phase involved the creation of a new opera house, now known as the Royal Opera House.

The restoration work was a huge success, and the Covent Garden Market was transformed into a thriving tourist attraction. The market is now home to a wide range of traders and artisans selling everything from handmade crafts to gourmet food. The piazza is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with street performers providing free entertainment.

The success of the Covent Garden Market has inspired other cities around the world to preserve and restore historic marketplaces. The market has become a symbol of the importance of preserving historic buildings and the cultural heritage of communities.

The central Covent Garden market buildings have a rich history that dates back to the 17th century. The market has undergone significant changes over the years, but thanks to the efforts of the Covent Garden Market Preservation Trust and the support of the government, the buildings have been restored to their former glory. The Covent Garden Market is now a thriving tourist attraction and a symbol of the importance of preserving historic buildings and cultural heritage.

For a more detailed history on Covent Garden Market, check out this article.

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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