Like many stallholders on Columbia Road, Steve Burridge feared the worst for the east London flower market when coronavirus struck and business stopped. “At one point I was thinking it wasn’t coming back this year,” he says.
Come September, however, the longtime Columbia Road trader will leave his reopened Sunday pitch in the care of his nieces to travel west to Chiswick, where London is set to gain its first new open-air flower market for 150 years.
With the country still in the midst of social distancing and economic recession, it may seem like an inauspicious time to be launching a new flower market, but the outdoor setting may be just the thing to capitalise on the scores of new gardeners inspired during lockdown. As the site of one of the earliest examples of an English landscape garden at Chiswick House, as well as the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden in the 19th century, Chiswick is a natural setting for this volunteer-run enterprise.