History of Watney Market

Since the late 19th century Watney Street Market in Shadwell has offered East Enders food, clothing, and community. This oral history project explores the market through the words of women – the visitors and stallholders who have browsed and bargained at the market from the early 1950s to the present day.

Throughout the day the road and the pavement are crowded with barrows laden with fish, vegetables, and other articles of food, cheap second-hand furniture, old iron, rabbit skins, and many articles besides.
— Montagu Williams, 1895

Where is Watney Market?

Watney Street is in Shadwell, east London. It links Commercial Road at its north end with Shadwell station at its south.  The market once occupied a much larger area at the southern end of Watney Street but moved into its current location after construction began in the 1970s.

Section of Map of London, 1868 by Edward Weller

Section of Map of London, 1868 by Edward Weller

 You know the sign that says Watney Market on the Commercial Rd side? I don’t think that has changed… And that is a really familiar sight. When you are driving, when we were driving home, you could see Watney Market Shopping Centre.
— Nishat