For restaurants in Spitalfields it’s easy to take for granted the market itself and the history of the area, and not fully appreciate it. Coming over the the UK only last year from Greece, I’m the first to admit that I don’t know nearly as much as I should do! I thought I’d do a little research in to Spitalfields and its restaurants.
Restaurants in Spitalfields – Hungrey Donkey
The name Spitalfields comes from St. Mary’s Spittel, the hospital and priory that was founded in 1197, and which had a field next door to it that is the area in which the market first appeared in the 13th century. By 1666 the market, which had once been part of the surrounding countryside, was now part of London, and in 1682 when King Charles 11 granted John Balch a Royal Charter giving him the right to hold a market twice a week on Spital Square it proved a huge success.
Spitalfields Market blossomed from its small beginnings in the 17th Century, with traders frantically trying to keep up with the demand for fresh fruit and vegetables and soon the market was trading six days a week. However, by the time we reach the 1820’s in our timeline, due to the reputation the area around the market had grown to hold, the market began to fall into decline. It was then that a market porter called Robert Horner saw the opportunity, and need, to buy a short lease on the market and renovate it for £80,000. It was relaunched in 1893, and in 1920 ownership passed over to the City of London.
For the next 60 years the markets reputation grew and grew and as it did it became apparent that due to the traffic within its narrow streets, the area needed to expand to cope with its popularity, and it was then that the market moved and reopened at its new location in Leyton in 1991. Come 2005 the Spitalfields regeneration programme was completed with an events programme in place, a public art programme, restored streets and plenty of Spitalfields restaurants to feed those hungry shoppers.
Spitalfields is now open seven days a week and in 2007 won Best New Open Space, an award well deserved!
Hungry Donkey x