The English Roses

Hi everyone – here are my photos from a beautiful Sunday morning that I spent exploring Columbia Road market, London. Scroll down to the bottom if you want to read more about my day there…

Ahh – Columbia Road Flower Market – I seriously had so much fun on the morning that I visited – Sunday 10.10.10. Paris Fashion Week had just ended and I’d decided to head to London for a week or so to shoot street fashion. I absolutely love the street market scene in London and had decided to combine exploring some of the best markets with shooting – two birds, one stone. Of all the markets that I hit in this trip – Columbia Road, Portobello Road, Brick Lane, and Broadway Market – I had the best time at Columbia Road. Why? Well first of all – as you can see in my photos – the weather was unreal – as in, “Are you sure I’m actually still in London?” unreal. Also, it was nice to be out in the morning. London’s nightlife is also amazing of course and my days there can sometimes get off to a late start as a result. Also, Columbia Road is quite some distance from London’s tourist-friendly West End – and it’s not convenient to the Tube either – so the crowd was mostly East End locals out enjoying the great weather. Compared to the mobs that can descend on the weekend at Portobello/Brick Lane/Spitalfields, Columbia Road felt positively civilized. There’s a really special atmosphere there that is unlike any other London market. A few more thoughts:
There were lots of attractive girls…and quite a few of them were wearing floral dresses/prints. The fact that a flower market would draw lots of girls is not surprising…but I did find the floral prints thing a bit surprising…and I couldn’t help but wonder whether this was a conscious or subconscious choice when they were getting dressed that morning? In fact, I didn’t even notice just how many girls I’d shot who were wearing floral prints until I was editing the photos later. So I have proof that at least one person there that day (me) was subconsciously drawn to all things floral!
If you go, you must walk around the corner to the Ezra Street yard. While the stalls on Columbia Road proper are “flowers and plants only”, the yard on Ezra Street is home to a mini-flea market. After you have a stroll through the flowers, check here for a small but carefully curated selection of vintage clothes, records, and bric-a-brac. Worth noting – in the back corner of the yard you will see two small signs – with lines of people standing in front of each. One sign says, “Order coffee here”…the other sign says, “Order breakfast here”. You should take these at face value and do exactly as they say – these signs are commands, not suggestions. The coffee is served by a guy who is the UK barista champion…the breakfast part is breakfast sandwiches. Both are unreal. I had this massive and freshly cooked bacon, sausage, and egg sandwich…the bacon is British bacon so it’s quite similar to ham if you’re American…the sausage is this rustic country sausage that they split open on the grill and cook until the edges are crispy…the egg is fried. Market schmarket – I would literally come back here just for breakfast.
And – as if all this wasn’t enough – this was just my morning activity! Later on that day I walked from Columbia Road over to Brick Lane and shot photos there all afternoon. It was a banner day for street style, let me tell you. I’ll be posting those Brick Lane photos soon!
And lastly – a question for the old-school Cockney flower stall holders aka “the barrow boys” – Is there anything that’s not “three for a fiver”? xx Mr. Newton

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