A NEGLECTED and run down historic market is set to get a new lease of life as a community hub for artists and independent traders.

Wood Street Indoor Market, which was once the site of a cinema and a thriving antiques emporium, has fallen on hard times in recent years.

Now 21 new businesses will open with the help of funds secured by Waltham Forest Council through Boris Johnson’s fund for outer London boroughs.

They were chosen from 130 entrants to a competition which invited businesses to pitch their case for inclusion in the scheme.

One of the successful enterprises was Strange Fruit, a greeting card business run by Denise Rawls.

She said: “I go to a lot of different events to sell my cards and people always ask if I have a shop they can visit.

“Having a shop in the market is a great opportunity to increase sales and meet more people face to face.

“It’s incredibly important to revitalize the market so that people have a reason to come to Walthamstow again.”

Louise O’Callaghan’s memorabilia business Folly and Frill will also join the new market She said: “We want to encourage people to spend their money on our local high streets, on local goods from local traders.”

A Valentine’s Day-themed launch event is to be held at the market on Saturday, with traders and artists celebrating a new phase in the market’s history.

The event includes special offers and gives visitors the opportunity to try new crafts and enjoy poetry readings, live music and mural painting.

The buildings, which date back to 1912 housed a cinema before the indoor market started in 1955.

It was famed for its antiques and attracted collectors from around the country.

But in the past few years many units have stood empty and others used for storage.

It is hoped that the combination of independent traders and exhibiting artists will also help regenerate the wider Wood Street area.

The market is open from 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Wednesday and Fridays and Saturdays.