A first-time author from Chingford is hoping to bring back to life the hustle and bustle of London’s most famous markets through the pages of his new book.
Just decades ago the east end of London was alive with buyers, sellers and stalls. In fact, markets were the life blood of many areas of the city.
Now, with supermarkets selling just about everything a person could hope to buy the success in some areas has seen a big decline.
However, Paul Morris, 46, is ‘fascinated’ by the history and the stories that have come from the days of market glory – especially now that he sees a higher demand for their return.
After interviewing stall holders, trawling through old newspapers and researching for around three years, Mr Morris has published his account of some of the most famous markets in London.
Mr Morris of Sunnyside Drive, a market inspector himself, has titled the book ‘A Toby in the Lane’.
“It’s cockney rhyming slang for mug – toby jug. It is what market inspectors were called once,” he said.
“I have always been interested in the history of London and I seem to have submerged myself in the history of markets.
“I couldn’t find anything that had been written in any real depth so the idea came to me to do it.
“There are families who have worked on the markets for generations and they had stories to tell.
“One of the most fascinating things about researching the book was finding out about Brick Lane Market. It was famous for selling exotic animals – at one time you could buy a lion cub.
“There were flea circuses and all sorts of peculiar things there but it closed in the mid 1980s.”
Mr Morris also believes that market days are not over yet.
He said: “I think there is some decline in some markets but there is also a demand now for unique and unusual products, especially in areas which have seen gentrification.
The book can be purchased from Amazon, Waterstones and the Museum of London Docklands.