Queen's Market in East London is a unique place. It seems unimaginable that 10 years ago this vital resource could have been threatened by Newham Council and rapacious companies.
In response to this attack on our community's street market, shoppers, residents and traders formed the Friends of Queen's Market(FoQM) who defeated the developers and continue to protect and promote the market to this day.
FoQM is a non-profit, grassroots community-based organisation which has been in existence for over 10 years. We continue to meet regularly to discuss the threats and improvements to Queen's Market. We are always looking for new ideas to highlight our plight and welcome you to join us.
Queen's Market is prospering: new stalls, more shoppers and special events have helped to bring in new customers whilst also raising awareness of the continual need to safeguard our community's vital resource.
Shoppers have reminded us of the need to SAVE QUEEN'S MARKET from any form of threats, given these hard economic times.
Queen's Market - a place celebrated for its inclusiveness and the vital role it plays in bringing communities together.
Council accused of "deliberate neglect" by shoppers and traders
Despite spending a whopping £1m on recent roof repairs, traders and shopkeepers have continued to complain about Newham Council's lack of transparency in regards to how this large amount of money was spent. Unfortunately we have continued to see water streaming inside the market from drains leading from the roof. Council officers have assured Friends of Queen's Market that repairs will be signed off by them, but so far the works look less than satisfactory.
One shopper, Halima Begum says: "I feel as though it's deliberate neglect by the Council. I come shopping from south London and it's like as if the Council can't be bothered to take care of it. Who knows what the market management do all day sitting in that office?"
Friends of Queen's Market are asking for accountability and transparency in regards to market investment and proper checks following the completion of works.
Photograph (above): water streams in from the roof onto the market stalls
Photograph (above): weed growing inside drain pipes that are rarely cleaned out
Celebrating Eid with the whole community
Friends of Queen's Market held a celebration
stall at Queen's Market in celebration of diversity and unity. FoQM
community volunteers gave away free Palestinian mejdool dates, almond
sugars and heart-shaped sweets. Leaflets explaining Eid had been
translated in Polish and Roma languages. The public event was supported
by the local Muslim community.
of Queen's Market's Coordinator Saif says: "it's great to see
that the whole community are united behind one another during these
testing times and Queen's Market remains the place in Newham where all
communities come to shop for their community and family occasions"
Photograph: Friends of Queen's Market outside the market with the 'Happy Eid' banner
COUNCIL WRONGS and TRADER' RIGHTS New identity card idea causes stir at Queen's Market
Proposed new I.D badges are criticised for unfairly taxing
small traders and ethnic minority workers
Market management want to make
all traders' assistants wear name badges. Nobody else, just traders' assistants
and then MAKE THEM PAY FOR IT – every six months… ker-ching! Another nice
little earner for the Council! But worse than that, people are being told that
it’s THE LAW as per the Border Agency- IT
IS NOT THE LAW.
Right now traders assistants have to give in names and I.D
at the office and keep market-issued identification cards with them at all
times. To date there have never been any arrests of undocumented trader
assistants for immigration law breaches or of traders for employing them.
Looks like the Council is beefing up the reign of terror
on our traders who suffer enough – spied on by security cameras,
fined if they trade one minute after 6pm, threatened if stalls are over the
line: the market management would be embarrassed to be singled out to wear
badges and indeed at risk of identity theft, stalking, hacking and
OF QUEEN’S MARKET SAY: “THIS IS WRONG, even if some
other markets are doing it. As far as we can see it is against the Equality Act which says you can't pick on particular
groups (or as the lawyers call them groups with 'protected characteristics').
And what about our traders’ assistants’ human rights? We are consulting our solicitor on this matter”.
Don't close the public toilets at Queen's Market!
Campaigners chanted “Don’t lose the loos” while petitioning against the possible closure of public toilets.
Saturday’s action in Green Street by the Friends of Queen’s Market
saw more than 100 people sign a petition calling on Newham Council to
think again about a proposal to close the loos near the Hamara Ghar
Activist Abdul Shakoor said: “Nobody we spoke to knew
about the proposed closure. It’s important people have their say so
that’s why we are out talking to them.”
Newham Council has carried
out a public consultation on proposals to shut five public toilets in
the borough - including the Hamara Ghar loos - with a plan for shops,
businesses and public buildings to open their loo doors to passersby
But campaigners claim there were 50,000 visits to the
Queen’s Market public conveniences last year justifying their demands
for the lavatories to remain open.
Friends of Queen’s Market chair
Sasha Laurel said: “Public loos came to London in 1851. The council
want to set us back two hundred years. It’s not on. The people who
objected are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Shopper David Elsom
added: “We have no details of where these community toilets will be or
their hours of opening. Surely the council doesn’t expect shopkeepers to
open their toilets to all and sundry and do the work the council should
In response, a council spokeswoman confirmed the petition
had been received and would be considered along with feedback gained
through the consultation which ended on March 27.
Photograph: Friends of Queen's Market collecting signatures outside the market
NEWHAM COUNCIL BANS FoQM FROM MARKET MEETINGS
After four years, Newham council bans Friends of Queen's Market from meetings about the Market's management and future. What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?
On Friday 23rd September Market Manager, Philip Knight said that only traders and council officers would be allowed.
FoQM's Secretary Pauline Rowe says: "Friends of Queen's Market have been accepted as a valid community body directly connected with the market and on that basis our nomination of Queen's Market as an Asset of Community Value was admitted and eventually approved.
But in any case all of the market's shopping public are stakeholders in the market and on that basis alone I would expect Friends of Queen's Market to have a right to attend meetings concerned with the progress of the market.
I should add that we have been attending the trader-management meetings since April 2012 when they began. What other forum is there for raising issues which concern us all - to give one example out of many, the roof leakages into the market?"
Newham council are yet to give a valid reason why.
WRITE TO Jarlath.Griffin@newham.gov.uk to find out why they have made this decision.
LIMBO: WHAT'S GOING ON?
Rahim Rahmani (right) waits in front of the stall which he rents from Newham
Council. Behind it is a ‘kiosk’ of some
fourteen square metres which contains a small washroom and is also used for
trading and storage.
Council gave him a lease with no legal protection so now it has ended he has to
‘bid’ for his kiosk.
He bid the
minimum £9500 required but has been told that he still may not get the kiosk.
Queen's Market are concerned.
‘They say that
the amount of money offered and the suitability of the business are primary
considerations. We are pressing to find out what the other Council criteria are:
do they take into account whether a business is successful ? or do they just
want to squeeze maximum rent out of traders come what may?‘ asks Chair Sasha
A spokesperson for the Green Street Business Association says, ‘The traders have a right to be sure that the
bidding process is transparent and squeaky
clean. We ask Council property supremo Mark Butler, where’s the accountability?’
And while they wait for answers to their
questions the future of Mr Rahim, his staff and family hangs in the
balance. His colleague Mr Raffiq (left) who
rents another kiosk is similarly in limbo – and waiting.
SHOCK NEWS - TRADERS ARE BEING EVICTED !
Three days after Queen's Market trader Ashraf Ullah was EVICTED because
he had not upped his rent offer to Newham council to the £9,500
demanded, traders in the same boat have been given only TWO days to up
their offers, in a circular received 30 July.
Terrified long standing traders have bid £9, 500 for tiny kiosks, told their ‘bids’ may still not succeed. IS THIS JUSTICE? Photo: 'To Let' signs appeared at Queen's Market (from March 2016) from another dubious Newham council front called One Source.
PHOTOGRAPH: Red 'To Let' signs have started appearing at Queen's Market from a 'dodgy-looking' Newham council front called One Source (who pays their list of Directors?)
Long time trader Mr Kalam from Upton Park Fish
Bazar is being harassed for 50% rent increases for a tiny kiosk at
"There have been no improvements to the kiosk in 5
years. Why am I expected to pay so much extra? This is unfair" says
DO THEY REALLY CARE ABOUT US?
Shoppers stopped and stared as
umbrella- waving protesters unveiled banners in Queen's Market, Upton
Park. Chanting 'Make the roof - waterproof' they demanded immediate
repairs to the Queen's Market roof.
Repairs to the roof are
scheduled but with no start date. Meanwhile traders complain of damaging
leaks in rainy weather. In some cases stock has been destroyed as a
'We got our own structural engineer to look at the roof ' explained Friends
of Queen's Market campaigner Pauline Rowe 'he said that the structure
was fine: the problems seem to arise from poor maintenance and repair'.
The roof was repaired in 2010 and again in 2013. But the leaks
persist. ' Any half-decent builder could sort out blocked gullies,
inadequate seals on rooflights and defective roof cladding' commented
retired building trade shopper Ram Chadda 'Why can't this Council?'
Last month thirty shopkeepers sent a joint letter of complaint about
water leaking through the roof into their shops. The Property
Department of Newham Council has still not replied to their letter.
'How rude is that?' asks fruit trader Neil Stockwell 'these Councillors
and officers would be quick enough to get a proper repair done if it
was their own homes threatened with water damage. Don't they care about
Good News: After a 22 month battle, Queen's Market receives its nomination for Asset of Community Value
Newham Council has had to finally admit that our
much loved 112-year-old Queen’s Market is in fact an Asset of Community Value
and not for their disposal.
it listed has been a brilliant collective effort, with FoQM campaigners doing
most of the work but your support has been invaluable.” says long serving campaigner
Pauline Rowe. “The council's tactics were to wear us down and make us despair:
the traders’ encouragement kept us going. I've thanked our off-stage
supporters at Locality, the local Government Ombudsman's office and of course
GLA member Andrew Boff.”
That means: THE COUNCIL HAS TO TELL US IF THEY PLAN
TO SELL THE MARKET TO DEVELOPERS and THE COMMUNITY GETS ITS CHANCE TO BUY IT - not
easy but not impossible.
The Council took nearly TWO years to make a decision that by law they should have made in eight weeks. It took over fifty emails, interventions from the Greater London Assembly and Local Government Ombudsman, threats of legal action… but in the end it was possible because of the effort of Campaigners and the Traders and Shopper’s support!
Golden Snail for Newham Council
A Golden Snail Award is on its
way to Newham Council's Legal Department to mark a nineteen-month wait
for a decision that is still outstanding.
'The Golden Snail
Award is for the slowest legal department in the United Kingdom' says
Friends of Queen's Market secretary Pauline Rowe 'this legal department
is so slow that their delays are actually breaking the law!'
Friends of Queen's Market nominated the Green Street market as an Asset
of Community Value nineteen months ago. Once a place is listed as an
Asset of Community Value a council must let the community know if they
plan to sell it, and the community group is given an option to buy it.
The Friends claim that listing the historic Queen's Market as an asset
will also give it proper recognition.
'The Golden Snail Award is
for the slowest legal department in the United Kingdom' says Friends of
Queen's Market secretary Pauline Rowe 'this legal department is so slow
that their delays are actually breaking the law!'
'There is a serious
issue here' explains Chair Sasha Laurel ‘the law says that nominations
must be decided in eight weeks, which meant we should have had a reply
by 14 January 2014. In April this year we gave the Legal Department of
Newham yet more time because they claimed that nobody in the Council
told them about our application and we offered them volunteers, one who
had legal knowledge, in case staff shortages were a problem. The eight
weeks are up and we still have not heard a word on the decision.’
Shopper Daulat Ram Chadda asks 'Why won't the Council recognise the
market's community value? It is clearly valuable to the community: the
cheap fruit and veg are a lifeline to many low income families'.
Trader Neil Stockwell is baffled 'Why are the Council's lawyers
delaying? Their law-enforcers move quickly enough with fines if we trade
one minute before opening time!'
The Golden Snail award is the
Friends of Queen's Market's wake-up call to the Council. 'But they
should not misunderstand us,' says Sasha Laurel. 'We are not joking: we
are very determined and we won't let this go!'
SIGN THE COMMUNITY'S PETITION FOR 100% SOCIAL HOUSING FOR THE BOLEYN GROUNDS --- click on the link below
In Upton Park, Friends of Queen's Market were asked what they wanted to see
on the Boleyn Grounds (West Ham Football site, when West Ham move out)
and we believe there is a pressing need for more social housing for rent for local people.
If greedy developers like Galliard can build 100% private housing in
Stratford, then 100% SOCIAL HOUSING is also possible on the Boleyn
Grounds in Upton Park.
FoQM want to see 100% SOCIAL HOUSING on the West Ham Football pitch site (Boleyn Grounds)
The new plans for the West Ham Football pitch site is offering housing which is totally unaffordable to most people in Newham. Why are people silent on this kind of apartheid in the UK?
Galliard, the developers who openly celebrate "no social housing" on one of their latest schemes have submitted plans for the historic West Ham football pitch site/ Boleyn grounds. Their latest plans include just 6% social housing whereas the local need is 65%.
Make your voice heard on the issue in favour of a fairer development, inclusive of local people.
Newham Council wanted to GET RID OF these homeless
young mums by re-housing them outside London for the same reasons that they
wanted RID of our market: social cleansing to make Newham a shiny
magnet for wealthy people who do all their shopping at
Westfield and see the rest of us as riff-raff. Their fight goes on and has included the heroic occupation of the
scandalously empty Council properties on the Carpenters Estate.
mothers, you are an inspiration to us all. See Focus E15 Facebook for up to date
Parking, the fight goes on
continues to charge extortionate parking fees to shoppers at the market with
none of the concessions or free parking offered to shoppers in other areas of
Newham. Friends of Queen's Market has worked with traders to produce a parking
proposal which will go to the directly elected Mayor Robin Wales.
Film screenings at Queen's Market
evening of Bank Holiday Monday an audience of around two hundred watched Tom & Jerry cartoons and then one of the great Bollywood films - in Queen's
They sat on silver cushions drank tea and munched on
popcorn. Silver pennants flying, Aamir Khan on the screen, the
market was transformed into a magical place. The show and refreshments
(all free) were provided by the Green Street Community Forum who showed for all
to see that the market is a valuable space which the community can use on
MAKING THE LAW WORK FOR US
Friends of Queen’s Market have been busy ensuring the council doesn’t ‘sell off all the silver’ in the borough by making sure Queen’s Market is RECOGNISED AS AN ASSET OF COMMUNITY VALUE.
What does it all mean? It’s in the Localism Act passed by Government that states, if a place “is currently being used, or was used in the last five years for activities which improve the social wellbeing and interests of the local community” then it can be nominated. We believe Queen’s is clearly of value and much more, so we filled in the forms and sent them off.
Just awaiting a reply from Newham Council.
Let’s hope the council see sense and want to also safeguard our market.
New visitors and supporter from round the world
of Queen's Market were happy to welcome a group of mature students from
Frankfurt. Their study tour was called "London Calling - the East End in the
bonfire of the financial markets?" They appreciated the incredibly
diversity of the produce on offer. And they listened to the story of the
developers who wanted to demolish the market. The law wouldn't allow developers to get away with such a
thing in Germany, they reckoned. (Note to our Council, check this out next time
you're on a jolly to Newham's twin town in Germany!)
Easter Fun at the market
occasional art stalls are getting famous. At Easter time in spite of the dodgy
weather young artists eagerly coloured in the 'easter bunny' with his
football scarf - and munched their free Easter eggs. We'd welcome suggestions
for Eid and Diwali activities!
Our exhibition about the history and struggles at Queen's Market
Saving the Queen's, a pop-up exhibition was a collaborative effort by Eastside Community Heritage and Friends of Queen's Market.
The pop-up exhibition included photographs and oral histories from the early days of the market up until the recent campaign to save Queen's Market.
If only Newham council would show Queen's Market the same care it shows to other local assets....
The summer of 2013 saw two cultural celebrations of Queen's Market.
Human Coral, an art exhibition featuring Queen's Market , was shown at
the Rich Mix Arts Centre in Bethnal Green throughout the month of June.
Queen's Market and the fight to save it featured in the film 'We aint stupid.' shown in July as part of the East End Festival.
art was the work of Newham's young artist Saif Osmani: young East
London film director Mitch Panayis made his documentary feature debut
with the film.
Both exhibition and film were well attended and praised
If you missed either watch this space: you may get a second chance later in the year!
THE MARKET'S FUTURE
Council's Core Strategy (their plans for what they want to see built in
Newham over the next 10 year) was passed in 2012. It allows the Council
to 'develop' the market when they feel ready. You can read more about
the Core Strategy on the 'History of the Campaign' page.
Council don't have to do everything that's in the Core Strategy. Three
things are making the developers and Council keep their greedy mits off
the market for the time being:
1) The recession
2) The campaigning by Friends of Queen's Market
We are convinced that your continuing support for the market is keeping the Council at bay. We are proud to be the community campaign that PROMOTES and PROTECTS the market.
It seems like a lot has happened since Asda retreated in 2006, the planning application rejection in 2009 and finally St. Modwen, the developers bolting in 2010. This is all good news for the community and for the future of the 111 year old market that we have all come to love and depend on for fresh fruit and vegetables, amongst other supplies. Remember, QUEEN’S MARKET BELONGS TO YOU!
The market is now under the control of Newham Council and its elected people. However, the local planning Core Strategy has a few worrying proposals. Friends of Queen’s Market are here to make sure that the market stays here for the people of Newham and shoppers everywhere.
Sadly, not all’s rosy as the car park charges have more than doubled. The car drivers who visit the market are not wealthy people and the charges are hitting them as well as the market traders. Friends of Queen’s Market believe this increase is UNFAIR and DISPROPORTIONATE and request the old charges be reinstated. See the picture of our demo further below.
Also, the roof is still giving everyone grief. £150,000 of taxpayer’s money paid over, with a 20 year guarantee, but the water is still coming in!
Friends of Queen's Market protest against the doubling of car park charges.
Under the new, much improved market management, Queen’s Market has received an AWARD for being the greenest market in South England and there’s a nice glass trophy on display in the Inspectors’ office. Go and have a look for yourself! Friends of Queen’s Market congratulates the traders, especially the fruit and vegetable stallholders- saving the planet whilst saving money for the market – nice one!
Congratulations on the latest award from the Local Government Chronicle. Thanks to the traders' hard work Queen's Market came 2nd out of 82 contestants for the Zero Waste Award. Well done!
New Traders: If you want to have a stall in the market please call 020 8475 8174 or 020 8475 8971
How to get there: Turn right from Upton Park Station, the market is next door.
Tubes: District & Hammersmith & City Lines (30 mins from Central London, 10 minutes from Mile End Station) Buses: 104 (from Stratford), 238, 58, 330, 376 Car parking: whilst short-stay parking is available on Green Street, we advise you to park at Shaftesbury Road car park, or Queen's Road car park.
The planning Inspector’s Report was published 16th January 2012
In his report Inspector Geoffrey Salter commented that the Queen’s Market building was quite sound (though unattractive!) and ‘far from irreparable’. He acknowledged the local fears aroused by the Council’s last scheme to redevelop the market but noted that it had been discarded. Describing the market as ‘vibrant and vital’ he said that in the light of Council promises to retain the market ‘a scheme for redevelopment or possibly refurbishment would be acceptable’.
Angela Daley, Friends of Queen’s Market Coordinator, commented ‘We are pleased that the Inspector called our market vibrant and vital: we’re glad he flagged up refurbishment as a possible alternative to pulling it down. Now it’s up to shoppers and traders to make their voice heard and safeguard this vital community asset!”
Get your money's worth........ compare the prices!
We did a price comparison by purchasing the same fruit and veg at a local supermarket on the local high street (Green Street in Upton Park). It puts a new twist on the catchphrase "every little helps".
Successive governments have dabbled in social engineering with varying degrees of success. These attempts to establish racially harmonious communities have invariably proved as futile as an alchemist's attempts to turn bass metal into gold. Yet, in Queen's Market there has evolved a remarkable community that is London's,and in probability Europe's most ethnically diverse. Over the course of the market's one hundred year history successive waves of immigrants have made the East End their home; ranging from Russian Jews escaping the Tsarist pogroms at the beginning of the twentieth century to Zimbabweans fleeing the tyranny of Robert Mugabe in 2009. Rather like a coral reef this multi-layered and multi-faceted community is a fragile form, easily destroyed, yet near impossible to replicate.So why is this market such a magnet to ethnic minority communities from right across London? Its success lies in the fact that its functions are many and varied. As a social space it provides an ideal arena for social interaction. The market is a living information exchange, a place of linguistic comfort, education and of course, gossip. The human dynamic of the market and its environs energies and reinforces cultural identity for people, many of whom feel maginalised and lost in London. With over 85% of the shoppers coming from African, African-Caribbean and Asian communities it is evident that the style of shopping is redolent of that found in the markets of Kumasi, Kingston and Karachi. Any one who is familiar with Russell Market, Bangalore will know exactly why Queen's Market resonates in the way that it does. With its souk-like ambience, access to fresh, culturally appropriate produce and goods at amazing prices ensures that news of the market spreads far beyond the East End. This human reef has some rarer national groups if one is prepared to explore; who would have thought that Burundians, Ecuadorians, Latvians andthe Togolese would be regular denizens of Queen's Market - they too have heard of its fame. The market has also provided a fertile environment for entrepreneurs to start toput down purposeful roots in the UK. It is encouraging self sufficiency and a degree of financial independence that has helped successive communities to become an essential part of that extraordinary world city that we call London. Queen's Market continues to evolve and absorb the social mores of countless nations. Add to this the piquant Cockney humour and you have the sort of cocktail of peacefully coexisting humanity that social engineers can only dream of.
Support for our market from internationally acclaimed Newham-based poet Benjamin Zephaniah:
"It is one of the most weird and wonderful places in the capital: a dazzling medley of colour, languages, shops, stalls, merchandise and movement. It is a lifeline for the people on low incomes: the things that are sold here, from halibut to haberdashery, are almost unbelievably cheap." - Paul Kingsnorth, Real England (2008)
"Queen's thrives because most locals still cook for themselves - the market is essential. To them, it represents nothing short of their identity - the very heart and soul of their community."- Carolyn Steel, Values to save for Queen's and country, Building Design, 5/12/2008.
Be sure to take a look at our food links elsewhere in this website. Even better come and discover why Queen's Market was chosen as one of three finalists for the 'Best Food Market' in the BBC Radio Four Food & Farming Awards 2008.
"The diversity is remarkable enough, but maybe even more remarkable are the prices -everything is eye-wateringly cheap. Asda's Price Promise would be laughed at here. In an area like this, with so many people living on very low wages, this is not just convenient, it is vital."An extract from Real England - Paul Kingsnorth (Portobello Books, 2008)
Queen's Market is especially valued by women living in London:
"Queen's Market, Upton Park is a thriving and profitable covered street market. Situated in the East End, it has been in existence for over a century and is at the heart of a vibrant community that draws in people from across London and beyond. Famed for its affordable and culturally appropriate produce, it is much more than just a market, it is a living information exchange and a communal space. Queen's Market is an important centre of employment and brings in millions of pounds into the local economy. It exudes entrepreneurial spirit, tolerance and good humour. Little wonder that Londoners love it."
- Sasha Laurel, Chair
Friends of Queen's Market celebrate the retreat of the developer (Yellow Advertiser). For details of our heroic campaign please see page 2- Story of our Campaign.