Roman Road Yard Market opened yesterday, attracting a huge turn out, fantastic trade, and great community spirit. It was lovely to see so many local people enjoying the convivial space that was created in the car park under the blossom trees, eating street food, meeting friends and listening to the buskers.
It has also been fantastic to see and hear Roman Road hitting the news and getting some well-deserved publicity over the last few weeks with features on Robert Elms BBC Radio London show; Time Out (listing Roman Road Yard Market launch as top ten things to do in London this weekend in their print magazine too); East End Citizen; ILoveMarkets; Independent London, London Gov, Idea Store, Artisan Market and Elle Magazine.
An extensive marketing campaign on social media was undertaken too, helping to raise the profile of Roman Road as well as the new Yard market. Posts on the RomanRoadLDN Facebook page about the Yard Market launch reached 23,000 people. Tweets on the RomanRoadLDN Twitter page about the Yard Market reached 178,000 peoples Twitter feeds, and brought 6,000 visits to the RomanRoadLDN Twitter account.
The Yard Market was also marketed the old-fashioned way with 30,000 leaflets distributed to households in Bow, Hackney Wick, Fish Island, Victoria Park, Mile End and Globe Town. There were four banners hung around the neighbourhood too. The launch event was also one of the main ‘opening’ events for the Mayor of London ‘Find Your London’ event and was included in leaflets distributed across the London tube network.
All this publicity really helped bring in the crowds – an estimated 4,000 came to the Roman Road Yard Market launch event spending on average £17 each. This means an estimated £68,000 was spent at Roman Road Yard Market. With two thirds of the traders being local, that means much needed money and opportunity is being fed straight back into the local community.
Having so many local traders also makes this an outdoor market with stall holders who really care about the community and go the extra mile to make this an extra special experience for shoppers and Roman Road residents. Local traders included Hui’s Kitchen, Cheesetruck, Rudy Loewe, Vorona Art Ceramics, Nadien Klages, Jubella, Gander Lane, Jubella, Fairfield Apparel, Roman Road Food Assembly, All the Fun of the Fiar, Jazz Palace Makers, Vintage Maps, Betty’s Box, Land + Lap and New Library Recordings.
Reports from local cafes and restaurants at the end of the launch event were incredibly positive, most of them noticing increased footfall and several of whom said this had been their busiest day of trade ever, including Salim from Table des Saveurs and GKelly Pie and Mash shop. The stall selling flowers on the main street market enjoyed a ‘proper touch’ showing that the publicity and extra footfall generated by the Yard Market will trickle though to the street market, benefiting all surrounding shops and traders.
One of the free guided walks at the event was a tour of the Best Independent Shops on Roman Road, giving people an insight into the history and back-story of many of Roman Road’s best and longest serving shops including Thompsons, Abbotts, Gina’s Closet, Jakss and Denningtons as well as newer shops such as Baruch, Dharma Tattoo, SNAP and BonnieBoo Baby, and many others. The walkers were treated to tasters of wine at Vinarius and Swedish cake at Fika.
Other free guided walks included one about the Suffragettes led by Rachel Kolsky; a history tour of the area by David Garrard; a seed bombing tour for children and families led by Thandi Loewenson; an insight into the Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan by the Cass students and Public Works, and a tour of the old boozers by Ray Gipson.
The local authority made good use of the publicity surrounding the Yard Market launch by introducing new fresh food stalls onto the main market. The Yard Market receives many applications from fresh produce sellers and these will be redirected to the main Roman Road Market, with the aim of encouraging a more varied and useful offering on the main market. Please support this by checking out new fresh produce sellers on the main street market including local resident Quirky Nature who will be selling naturally shaped fruit and veg that supermarkets reject.
Roman Road Yard Market is run by the not-for-profit Roman Road Trust, a community development organisation committed to putting community at the centre of regeneration. The Yard Market couldn’t have happened without the help of many volunteers including Rosie Kachere, Adam Koblov, Lee Sergant, Ben Blot, Amy Cooper, Jiny Ngui, Thomas Martin, Gavin Cambridge, Sarah Richards, Clare Burgess, Irene de Lorenzis, Nick Pettersen and probably a few more!
The great news is this will be happening EVERY Saturday with new traders appearing every week and the Busker’s Tree featuring different local musicians. Saturdays will rotate between Designer Maker Saturdays and Vintage & Art Saturdays.
With the days getting longer, weather warming up and the blossom about to flower, the Yard market promises to build on its success and achieve its aim of increasing footfall to Roman Road, celebrating its East End heritage and providing a much needed social community hub at this central location between Roman Road Market and the rest of Roman Road.
Thanks to all who helped make the Roman Road Yard Market launch such a success, including supporters and sponsors London Borough of Tower Hamlets (Trevor Kennett, Richard Taylor, Naz Chowdhury, Chris Golds and Cllr Joshua Peck), Mayor of London GLA and Calverts.
Photo credit: Roman Koblov, local resident and photographer