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Spitalfields Market gets new operator after 400 years

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:27 05 October 2010

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ONE of London’s oldest markets has a new operator in a deal announced last night. The running of Old Spitalfields in London’s East End, which traces its history back to 1682, is being taken over by Wellington market managing company

ABOVE: Thriving scene at the weekend as festive shoppers headed for latest fashions and food at Old Spitalfields Market...

BELOW: The really old Spitalfields market before its redevelopment in the 1980s...

By Mike Brooke

ONE of London’s oldest markets has a new operator, in a deal announced last night.

The running of Old Spitalfields in London’s East End, which traces its history back to 1682, is being taken over by Wellington market managing company.

The contract was awarded by Old Spitalfields’ owners, Ballymore property group.

Wellington plans to transform it into an international venue for events and entertainment as well as retain its trading days to preserve traditional East End market life. The market is already known for its fashion, food and events since its rebirth 20 years ago.

Ballymore Group chairman Sean Mulryan said: “Old Spitalfields is a jewel in our crown and deserves to be experienced by people from all over the world.”

The market in Commercial Street, opposite Hawksmoor’s world heritage Spitalfields Church, will have its highest profile ever in the year when Michael Bear, Spitalfields Development Corporation’s chief executive, becomes Lord Mayor of the City of London.

The Wellington Market company, which takes over operations on February 1 when the current contract ends, traces its own roots back to 1244 when it was granted a Royal Charter.

Its chief executive Malcolm Ball said: “We intend making Old Spitalfields a destination in its own right, more than just a market, a whole lot more than a simple shopping trip.”

He was chief executive of the Southbank’s Vinopolis wine emporium before joining the market company and was involved in developing Bankside as a new destination south of the river.


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