We have dug out some old colour photos of Roman Road Market in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s from our local archive library. These and many other images of streets of Bow are freely available at Tower Hamlets Local History and Archives. Take a look at banana stalls piled high in the 1970s and enjoy the amazing outfits from the 1990s. Scroll through and let the nostalgia begin.
Roman Road Market began as early as 1843, when it was illegal ‘but withstood several attempts to close it down’. It was recorded as a fully fledged market in 1887 by Booth, who toured the area with the local policeman and reported that ‘Roman Road…is one of the great market streets in London. Things to be bought of every sort, even patent leather shoes. Some demand for good quality as well as for cheapness’. The market is the heart of Bow, and ‘going down the Roman’ has been a tradition for generations.
Today, market days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but shops are open all week. The Old Ford and Bow Traders and Shopkeepers Union was inaugurated in 1910 to promote the welfare of costermongers and traders as well as those they lived alongside, and there have been traders groups ever since.
Photographs courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives with special thanks to photographers Mrs C. Ely, Mrs H. Bazalgette, Robert Anthony, Kenneth Newman, F. Holingbery and the Borough Architect and Planning Department.
If you like this, you might also like our black and white archive images of Roman Road Market.