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Lower Marsh Market: a new era begins

Celebrations were held in Lower Marsh on Thursday evening to mark the relaunch of Lower Marsh Market.

Lower Marsh Market: a new era begins
Pearly King of Peckham George Major, Lambeth council leader Steve Reed and Waterloo Quarter's Helen Santer cut a ribbon to mark the relaunch of Lower Marsh Market

Since the start of September many new traders – selling food, clothes, books, flowers and other goods – have appeared in the historic Waterloo street market.

After years of decline, Lambeth Council and Waterloo Quarter BID have handed the management of the market to Westminster Artisans for a one-year pilot.

Westminster Artisans have successfully revived Tachbrook Street Market in Pimlico, boosting the number of traders from 3 or 4 to 98 a week in just one year.

The council and Waterloo Quarter hope they can pull off a similar trick in Waterloo.

"Twenty years ago I had my first ever job working for a company just off The Cut," said Cllr Steve Reed, leader of Lambeth Council.

"There was a very lively market here on Lower Marsh. I used to love coming down here in my lunch break.

"We should all welcome enormously the work that has gone into reviving the market. This is going to bring life back to central London.

"This is going to bring regeneration. This is going bring jobs."

Waterloo Quarter BID chair John Rushton, introducing speakers outside Cubana, said: "A market brings visitors, it brings recognition and it brings repeat visitors. A market will bring more people to Lower Marsh and a market will bring more people to Waterloo."

Earlier Rebecca Rivers, owner of Waterloo Body Station, said: "I'm really excited that the street market is bering revived. Lower Marsh is such a great street I'm hopeful the new market will encourage more people to discover this hidden shopping gem."

Also present was the Pearly King of Peckham George Major who used to run a stall in Lower Marsh, Joe Harrison from the Market Traders Federation and local resident Steve Chalke whose Oasis charity is sponsoring Johanna Primary, Oasis Academy Waterloo in Lower Marsh.

Earlier the crowd was entertained by Bowjangles, a Vaudeville-style string quartet.

Eleven of the market's pitches were occupied for the launch evening and more are expected during the day. The market operates six days a week but the new operators are concentrating their efforts on Wednesday to Friday 10am-6pm with late night shopping till 8pm on Thursday.

Work will soon start on a major project to improve Lower Marsh with new surfaces and street furniture.

The number of market pitches will be reduced but better facilities for traders will be provided.

• Find out more about Lower Marsh market at www.lowermarshmarket.co.uk

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