‘You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler.’ So who dictated how Portobello Market has evolved since its 19th Century roots as a fresh-food market? The 1940s and ‘50s saw the arrival of antique dealers, and even now vintage goods – be it clothing, accessories, or furnishings – have a hold on the atmosphere of the market, with a large number of traders selling on Saturday mornings. It is considered one of the largest antiques markets in the UK.
‘Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.‘ So how do people feel about the changes that have occurred throughout the Portobello Market area over the past century – and what elements did they, or do they, consider drawbacks?
But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s purely antiques – while yes, it is a haven for all the best of second-hand goods, and it is the thing Portobello is most famous for – there are several other distinct sections of the market.
After antiques are the fruit and veg – and additional food from bakers, fishmongers, and cheese stalls. It embraces life beyond the supermarket, as locals make their way to Elgin Crescent for their fresh goods. Next up is the ‘new goods’ section – which is the standard market gear of everyday goods that can be bought in bulk for a good price.
When one utters ‘vintage’ now, it so often is a reference to clothes and accessories – and, luckily for the very trendy, who either live in or commute to the uber-trendy Notting Hill, they are in luck as they can get their vintage fashion fix throughout the market. Fashion stalls are littered through from Chepstow Villas to Goldbourne Road, so if you are committed to a full search, you have the full stretch to explore.
What sort of people to sellers and stall holders expect to see and sell to in modern Portobello? How much does it differ for the guys that have been working at the market for decades; what tangible changes have they seen and how has it affected their business?