London Living Loves! Darren’s fruit stall at Stratford Indoor Market
We’re excited to officially announce the launch of a new project here at London Living…the niftily titled ‘London Living Loves’.
That’s right, we’re scouring Newham, Hackney Wick and the surrounding areas of E20 to find the most stand-out independent businesses in the area. If London Living loves it, we’re going to award it to show you that E20 is the coolest place to be in London.
Our first London Living Loves award was an easy decision. Stratford Covered Market – that’s the mall that isn’t Westfield, to those of you unfamiliar with Stratford’s history – has been a huge part of local residents’ lives for decades, and Darren Brooks, a fourth-generation market stall holder, has a claim to its history since the market began, all the way back in 1925.
Long before the mall existed (or indeed, malls as we know them, existed), Stratford Market was an outdoor affair, run come sun or bitter snow by unlicensed market stall holders; of which Darren’s Grandmother was one.
“I can trace my family’s history back to 1925, when the market was first licensed,” he told us. “It was out originally on The Broadway, as a market that the council couldn’t shut down, so they decided to license it – I have copies of those original licenses. The stall over the years was passed from my great grandmother, to my grandfather, to my father and now to me.”
Having worked helping his father out as a young boy, Darren spent thirteen years working up in the city, before his father’s deteriorating health forced him to make a decision to return to the family trade. “It’s in my blood,” he said.
Also Chairman of the Stratford Indoor Market Traders Association, Darren hasn’t looked back since. “There’s never a typical day here. I’m up at half three in the morning, or at Christmas time, up and half one, two in the morning. Then it’s straight to New Spitalfields (in Leyton), and back here at about seven to unpack. I have to go to Spitalfields every day; some things have to be bought on an everyday basis, like strawberries. They’ll never be packed up of an evening; they’re always fresh every day.”
London Living, impressed by Darren’s wonderful family legacy, not to mention his doughnut peaches, has awarded Darren the first ever London Living Loves accolade. No stranger to East Village, he told us he has been delivering fruit baskets to the architects’ office of East Village “since it was a hole in the ground”. “I’ve watched it grow from nothing and its amazing” he said. ” The artists impressions are exactly the same as what it is now. It’s incredible.”
To celebrate our first ever London Living Loves awards. we are giving away four luxury fruit baskets made by Darren himself, to be delivered to your London office next Monday. That’s right, a healthy start to the week, courtesy of London Living! Just head over to Twitter to find out how you could be the most popular person at work.