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The History of Covent Garden Market

The History of Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden Market is one of London’s most resourceful and renowned sources of the finest fruits, vegetables and flowers. Open throughout the week, and offering an array of other services other than food produce, this market is situated in Downtown London.

Being so popular, it’s not surprising that there are dozens of routes you can use to get to Covent Garden. If you’re exploring and want to soak in all the market has to offer, we recommend walking. Alternatively, you can cycle your way using the bike racks in Bow Street and Southampton Street. You can also get to the market by rail, bus, car or boat.

So how did this market come to be? Read on to learn about the history of Covent Garden Market.


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The Origins of the London Market

Although texts differ, the common consensus is that the market was first established around 1835. At the time, a patent was issued to organize a ‘public fair or mart’ in the area within Richmond, Dundas and King Streets.

In 1845, business owners and investors came together and decided to donate part of the land near Richmond for further development of the market. Back then, farmers were permitted to sell their wares on only three days of the week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays).

The main floor was often strewn with sawdust, providing an area where butchers would sell their meat. However, the exterior would be filled with other types of traders selling a wide range of products such as trinkets, kitten litters and wild raspberries.

The Formation of the Covent Garden Market Building Inc.

Until the end of World War 1, this market served as the cultural and business hub of the city. In 1955, a time when the invention of the automobile had become a big hit in London and other cities, the Covent Garden Market Building Inc. was formed.

This is the organization that supervised the renovation of the old market building in 1958. Following this restoration, the new market had four parking levels along with a section of the main floor dedicated to the traditional market.


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40 years later, the organization saw a need to once again renovate the market. This is because the market was largely organic and disorderly. Due to this, the residents who lived nearby constantly complained of traffic congestion and high noise levels.

Covent Garden Market's Location Change 

Thus the organisation in charge of the market decided to relocate to new grounds. To be specific, the market was moved to where the New Covent Garden Market is now located, about three miles Southwest of Nine Elms, SW8

With the new structure, the majority of shops were set up in upper stories. The tone of the market also changed significantly, resulting in a more organized and well-established shopping area.

Important to note is that the market also took a new design based on the neoclassical theme. It was colourful, vibrant, full of ample illumination and space. To a large extent, it was transformed into an area where ordinary Londoners, farmers and traders could meet and interact freely.


Whether you’re looking to buy something or take a simple stroll to explore London’s West End, Covent Garden Market is the place to be. However, this shopping area wasn’t always this organized. It owes its reputation and establishment to the numerous renovations that have been conducted throughout history.

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