A Guide To Roman Road Market History


Roman Road Market is situated on the oldest known trade route in Britain, and is still going strong from unofficially opening in 1843. That's right, the famous market was illegal when it first started, but fought many attempts to close it down. It became an established market a whole 45 years later in 1888 and was reported as one of the great market streets in London.


At the heart of Bow, this market has always been famous for its great atmosphere and low prices of products, not to mention it being open until 10pm well into the 20th Century. The market trading times may have changed since, but the business days have always been the same. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays you can take part in the tradition of 'going down the Roman.'


The market faced a few more issues around 1959 when it was threatened to be relocated due to the increase of traffic in the area, however market goers resisted this the same way as the other attempts to close down Roman Road market before it was established.


There ended up being efforts to separate Roman Road market (and other main road markets) from traffic, so they could be made partly pedestrian. This was post-war initiative, after the importance of street markets was recognised.


The 1970's influx of shopping centres never affected Roman Road market either and it in fact thrived through this time as an East London tradition. The historic market is now in fact a designated Conservation Area, and has been since 1989 - recently renewed in 2008. Which shows it is still going strong!


If you think you might miss the market, make sure to look out for the two archways marking each end. These are carved in Latin, signifying the Roman past of the area. Roman Road actually got its name from being near parallel to the roman road that connected London to Colchester, and due to Roman remains being discovered around 1845.


You now know the history of this spectacular market and will able to appreciate the antiquity when visiting Roman Road; you will even be able to impress everyone with your new found knowledge.

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