Community celebrates transformed marketplace in Bermondsey

On Saturday 31 July the Bermondsey community celebrated the new and improved Market Place being back open for business.

Bermondsey’s historic town centre and market, home to The Blue and Make It Blue markets, the square has been completely redefined: new seating areas using re-purposed materials are framed by clusters of trees and greenery, and an expanded new layout for market stalls is illuminated with new lighting columns and a clock tower standing proudly as Market Place’s shining new centrepiece.

The green oak tower is inspired by the historic clock tower that stood on Peek Frean’s biscuit factory, which in its heyday kept the country supplied with garibaldi and bourbon biscuits until its closure in 1989. 

In homage to The Blue’s manufacturing heritage and to celebrate the history of the first tin can being invented in Bermondsey, the new clock tower is clad in 3,000 tin can discs made locally on Old Kent Road.

Murals and artwork celebrating The Blue’s industrial roots and a litany of historic ‘firsts’ originating in Bermondsey enliven market shutters and nearby railway arches as important gateways directing visitors to the town centre. The market square’s paving, which was carefully retained to re-use existing materials as far as possible, now boasts a colourful brick mosaic reading the inscription on Bermondsey’s coat of arms – Art Profits The People.

Traders now have access to improved market storage and new electrical power points, with adaptable fixed stalls designed to provide cover for other uses, such as community events and arts festivals. 

Southwark Council and partners, The Blue Business Improvement District, Community Opportunity and Big Local Works, secured £2m of capital funding from the Mayor of London’s LEAP Good Growth Fund to turn The Blue town centre and street market into a thriving area. Hayatsu Architects, located just five minutes from The Blue’s Market Place, were appointed to lead the design team with Turner Prize-winning art and architecture collective Assemble.