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COLUMBIA MARKET GATES

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​A grand Gothic covered market built in 1869 by England’s wealthiest woman in the 19th century. Angela Burdett-Coutts, friend of Charles Dickens, had a mission to support local market traders and the working class, and built a huge market place in what was regarded as a slum area. Her market had 400 stalls, a market hall, tall central tower, gatehouse and cloisters. This magnificent cathedral-like market had many rules including no Sunday trading or swearing allowed. There was too much competition from other established markets such as Billingsgate and with no good railway connections the market did not last long. It was closed in 1885 and was demolished in 1958. When Angela Burdett-Coutts died, 30,000 people went to her funeral, including many market traders from east London.

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“We visit historical sites with school, but this one was different, it had more explanations and more depth and I could fully understand.”

Leon Capili aged 13

‘You restored it back to life!’

Musa, aged 13

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“I think it was a fantastic opportunity for everyone including grown ups. I wouldn’t change anything. All was absolutely fantastic!”

Victor Guerro, Art Lead for Hillyfields Primary Academy

The original Columbia Market building

Image: London in Pictures

CREATIVE RESPONSE

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“The children were highly impressed with the story and amazed by the workshop… Teachers and other members of staff have talked about the interesting story of the market building as most of them didn’t know about it. A big big success.”

Victor Guerro, Art Lead for Hillyfields Primary Academy

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“Children were researching after the workshop about blacksmiths and the market itself. They were highly impressed with the facts and the history around it.”

Victor Guerro, Art Lead for Hillyfields Primary Academy

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