The area around Containerville truly is the tardis of shopping; one day it’s a visit to the bustling antique market and the next day a Bohemian pop-up shop arrives. Iconic stores on Broadway Market such as indie movie library, The Film Shop, have migrated north to Stoke Newington but in their place come fresh, new faces ripe with a welcoming smile - please do enter! This state of flux adds a rising sense of excitement to the everyday or after work shopping trip, keeping hardcore lovers of this form of therapy on their toes, with the allure of independent merchants - and quality everyday goods - putting this part of east London well and truly on the map. Here are several routes to customer satisfaction, product by product:
Photography books: Neil Burgess’ Broadway Market Stall
As the owner of an indie photography book stand in the middle of the Saturday market that’s stopped every passing creative in their tracks for the last nine years, he’s witnessed a new era for the stalls and shops of Broadway Market as well, with boutique shopping transforming the area into a buzzing hotspot.
Like a true local, Neil Burgess has changed with the times and enjoys every iteration of his neighbourhood; back in the day he would frequent The Dove but now his favourite hangout is The Pacific, a coffee shop owned by a couple of Irish guys who play 70s records and serve up awesome food as a standard.
“I’ve got classic titles by great photographers like Robert Frank or Sebastião Salgado or Dianne Jarvis, which are historically important for modern photography. And then I sell contemporary books by the up and coming artists as well - I only sell books by photographers I like.”
Of course, he worked in photography for over 35 years after all. So how did he get to where he is now? “I found myself sitting in front of a computer screen like everybody else five days a week, and so I decided to take my passion for photography, combine it with my passion for books, and get back on the market. I sold books at a market when I was 12 years old and in my 50s I found myself back where I started.” Change really can do wonders, and this stall is a collection of wonders.
There is no website, so just head down on a Saturday before 5pm and get your geek on.
Experience: The Last Tuesday Society
If it’s an experience you’re looking to buy, The Last Tuesday Society will certainly provide. After all it describes itself as an establishment that is “dedicated to subverting life” and “seeks to create a new world filled with beauty, wonder and the imagination.” Its doors have been open on Mare Street since 2005, inviting curious locals and unsuspecting passers-by to walk innocently into a world of cultural wonder only to have their minds well and truly blown; thanks to a theme-less, nonsensical and therefore adventurous whirlwind of gallery productions and participatory events - such as a butterfly taxidermy evening class and an introduction to the marine aquarium workshop - on its diary of quirkiness.
Screenprinting: Rachael Gale
A shabby craft chic shop (those are the designer’s own words) of miscellaneous screenprinted items, Rachel Gale’s first ever pop-up is a little wonderland of charmingly displayed materials and fabrics ink-stencilled with her line art. In premises that’s snuggled between Broadway Market’s bookshop and laundrette, the village feel continues inside where modern trinkets, bibelots and knick-knackery like postcards, tote bags and baby grows are draped on the likes of old metal rails and paint splattered ladders, available to peruse every Thursday to Sunday. The rustic scene is back-dropped by patchwork drapery and fairy lights, making this an utterly delightful sensory experience helped buckets and spades by an equally warm and lovely owner.
Fishmongers: Fin and Flounder
Having sourced its tantalising selection of seafood from the UK's native coasts while following sustainability guidelines, Fin and Flounder proudly bags up local produce for the home poissonnier. In an effort to revive the concept of the neighbourhood fishmonger, this little shop offers a lot of extras like a deli of herbs, spices and wines to complement your meal, staff who know their stuff on how to prepare a kipper, and of course a Saturday market stall at Broadway Market selling cooked fish - and two lovely young chaps on a searing griddle pan that show off how it's done. And that's not the only reason the people of London Fields have fallen hook, line and sinker for this spot of the pitch, the menu includes finger-lickers like tuna steak, beer battered mackerel and scallop rolls.
Bicycles: Lock 7
The two-wheeled community of London Fields is pit stopping at hybrid coffee-shop-cum-bike-repairers, Lock 7. Patrons can park themselves on a comfy seat and sip on a nice cuppa or take a hit with an espresso shot while surrounded by a pitch of frames and display of accessories, available for purchase. Aside from vintage seats, second-hand cycles and hand-built treads, you can also hire a ride for a day or get your baby back on the road thanks to a walk-in clinic. They will be relocating in the coming month, so pick up the pace and wheel on over soon.
For fourteen years, a happy hunting ground of haberdashery has existed on Broadway Market. Renowned to all as 'Fabrications', this mini department store wows creative locals both young and old with spools of plentiful colours, materials cut of the finest cloth and quality sewing machines that would make granny proud. Integrally invested in the local economy, aside from its in-house items, it is proud to stock design-led products from independent makers like Barley Massey, who brings a modern twist to the textile world with upcycled interior furnishings and DIY kits made of recycled paraphernalia rescued from industries. Whether it's rare crochet, organic yarn, eco homeware, sustainable gift wrapping or double sided needles you are looking for; domestic supplies and Hackney's hand spun talent can be found here by the shelves.
Oh and it's not just a stockist; it's a socially responsible imaginarium giving the community a state-of-the-art crafts education centre, a workshop offering expert tuition on techniques like embroidery, and a studio providing a bespoke garment commissioning service to clientele like the BBC, Amnesty and Glastonbury. Get knitting!
Vintage Threads: Broadway Market Vintage Clothes Stall
A not so-well-kept secret, Saturday’s Vintage Stall in Broadway Market is one of the few places in East London where retro style devotees can nab themselves some bygone threads for an unbelievable £5. As well as the bargain rails, the rest of the stall offers more exclusive itemery at a taller price but still much cheaper than one can expect to find in any other part of East London. Early birds will gain the advantage as the best picks can be found from 9am, as by 5pm the stock gets fairly depleted.
Antiques: The Schoolyard Market
Just around the corner from the main Broadway Market punters can explore the antique trinkets, bits and bobs and paraphernalia sold at the Schoolyard Market. Existing specifically with the intent to benefit London Fields School, it also provides a free space for stalls from non-profit organisations such as St Joseph’s Hospices, the Hackney Society and the Great Drag Race. Antique hunters won’t find a huge range of quality produce here, but they might get lucky - items range from classic bicycle badges to ornaments that might fit in best at granny’s house, all certain to add a touch of quirk to wherever they end up. Beyond shopping kicks, the Schoolyard offers a family friendly place for parents to relax with a great range of nosh to get their nibble on as their children are set free to run riot.
Art: Martin Mossop
Artist and printmaker, Martin Mossop, has made Broadway Market the Saturday home for his art. At his stall market-goers will discover another psychedelically-coloured side of London through his colour screen plates, which merge imagery of well-known City spots with a creative verve of colour, prices starting from £90. Also on sale are screenprinted posters and his ‘flock of bags’ - hand printed canvas totes illustrated with birds from only £10.
Indie Books: Artwords Bookshop
Elbowing off multinational corporates out to monopolise all art forms whether it's music or film, independent store The Artwords Bookshop is a breath of fresh air. Since the early 2000s it has stocked artsy books and magazines covering esoteric subjects like fashion, graphic design, architecture and photography, fine art and theory of all sorts. Owner Bill Hillwood-Harris prides himself on being at the forefront of contemporary visual culture; striving to stock the newest popular and upcoming artists, and the shop accepts self-published authors so the chance to find a really unique read here is high. Bringing the creative discourse from its in-house literature off the page, the store also hosts cultural events like book launches, author seminars and good old discussions.
Flowers: Field of London
Yes there is a flower stall on Broadway Market and yes there is an entire flower market on Columbia Road not far from this spot - but Netil Market's Field of London flower shop is our pick of the crop. Endorsing the slow flower movement, this company uses varieties that are in season on home ground, rather than in demand and shipped across shores, to bring high quality to the customer and be kind to the world's floricultural fields and greenhouses. Grown sustainably in London, Kent, Surrey and Cornwall, each rustically foliaged bouquet (owner Lizzie Cook likes using wild flowers and artichoke heads) won't just look beautiful in your home, it will have a bloomin' right to be there!
Meat fix: Hill & Szrok
With butcher Tom Richardson-Hill and baker Alex Szrok at the helm, Hill & Szrok on Hackney's Broadway Market is not only the ideal butcher-baker combo but also a successful foodie destination, thanks to the helping hand of partner Luca Mathiszig-Lee. A traditional British butcher’s by sunlight, the spot is transformed into a cosy restaurant at dusk; slickly decorated with white-tiled walls, solid wood and hip industrial lighting. Fears of eating expertly cooked meat beside a slaughterhouse can be put to rest; the gleaming marble worktops are spotless and there's no smell of a butcher house, only delicious aromas that flow from the open kitchen. The expertise of the daytime team partners perfectly with the chefs of the evening to create a classic British menu featuring sausages, sirloins, mutton cutlets, chicken quarters and ox cheek with bacon and ale, as well as a sharing piece made for plating up and fingerlicking: a butterflied leg of lamb for £32. Hill & Szrok is a cut above the rest as the true meat-lovers destination in Hackney.
Greengrocers: Organic Food Fresh Fruit & Veg
No East London village would be complete without its own greengrocer; Organic Food on Broadway Market truly gives this contemporary area of London a sense of traditional community that transports its residents and visitors from the Big Smoke to their very own country bubble. The store stocks every imaginable fruit and vegetable, all the better for being organic, eco-friendly and, where possible, locally sourced. While the shelves outside overflow with glowing produce, indoors a huge range of miscellaneous merchandise, from gourmet tea to washing up liquid, is stocked. The purchase of guilt-free harvests is not necessarily the only thing that customers will take with them when they leave the store; the staff are a fountain of knowledge on the subject of sustainable living as active supporters of Greenpeace. Customers who are open to learn more about these issues are sure to bag the Organic Food’s ethos too - every little can help to change the world.
Old Fashioned Hardware: Bradbury’s
Known by the locals as an institution, stepping into Bradbury’s hardware store is like stepping into a time warp of tools and materials: anything from nails, tools and polyfiller can be found. The shop has been a resident on Broadway Market since the 70s so the fellows at Bradbury’s certainly know their hardware stuff and offer refreshingly old fashioned friendly service on the subject. A rare breed of independent hardware store that's still standing, somehow prices remain inexpensive in this day and age, and there’s even a resident cat to curl up to customers legs while they’re checking out the nuts and bolts.