Detective Shaw’s London: Covent Garden Market
One of the most characteristic neighbourhoods of the City of Westminster, located in the east of the West End, of which it constitutes the beating heart, is Covent Garden. Its name derives from a distortion of the term “Convent Garden” since between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the garden of a convent was there, but it is mostly associated with two historical places found within it: the Royal Opera House, which is often simply referred to as Covent Garden, and the Covent Garden Market.
The latter is located in the central square of the neighbourhood, and in the past hosted a real market, the modern version of which was moved to Nine Elms (New Covent Garden Market) in 1974. The current Covent Garden Market is more of a shopping centre, which houses shops, restaurants, and a craft market, called Apple Market.
From a historical point of view, the first evidence of the existence of a market in Covent Garden can be traced back to 1654, but the neoclassical building which represents the current heart of the neighbourhood was built much later: in 1830. In the 1960s, increased traffic became a major problem, prompting the construction of a new building in Nine Elms and the relocation of the market there in the following decade. The old building was then converted into the current shopping centre and reopened in 1980.
For anyone going to London the Covent Garden Market is a stop not to be missed to spend some time listening to live music while drinking something cold or hot (depending on the season), to try one of its restaurants, to make some purchases or, simply, to stop and watch the cheerful comings and goings of people who crowd it every day.
Getting there is easy since on the Piccadilly Line there is a station called Covent Garden, which is a stone’s throw from the market. Another particularly close station is Leicester Square on the Piccadilly Line and the Northern Line.
I happened to go there almost every time I was in London (the photos date back to 2011) and so I couldn’t help but mention it in the…