The first Chiswick Flower Market opened on Sunday 6 September, with several thousand people visiting the market in a steady stream from when it opened at 9.30am till when it closed at 3.00pm.
The new monthly market, which will be held on the first Sunday of the month, is the first new flower and plant market to be opened in London in 150 years. Some stall holders were experienced traders, including a couple from Columbia Rd market, while others were launching new businesses, some because they had been made redundant during the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the stall holders sold all or nearly all their stock. Chiswick businesses in the roads around the market also did very well from the visitors attracted to the market, with several reporting double their normal Sunday turnover.
The organisers, who are all local residents and volunteers, set up the market with the express intention of revitalising the economy of their local high street.
“It was a huge success” say the organisers – queues, literally around the block. Traders pretty well sold out. Lots of them had to send out for more stock during the day and were totally amazed and thrilled at the success”.
Several celebrities visited the new market, including TV presenters Nicki Chapman, (Escape to the Country) and Arit Anderson (Gardeners World) as well as ‘Mr Plant Geek’ Michael Perry and local resident Jeremy Vine.
The Chiswick Flower Market was also reported on by BBC TV News.
Arit Anderson, who lives in west London, said: “It’s really exciting. And what’s really lovely is that the local community can come down here once a month … there’s cut flowers, there’s bedding, there’s indoor plants, there’s outdoor plants, bulbs, you name it, and it’s a really, really lovely thing”.
Nicki Chapman said: “Well done to everyone involved in Chiswick Flower market today. First time in 150 years London has a new flower market. The high road is packed with people buying flowers, house plants but also supporting local shops & cafes”.
Cecilie Brinkmann, manager of women’s fashion shop Wild Swans in Devonshire Rd, which is adjacent to the market place said: “We’re really happy. We’ve had the best Sunday trade this year”.
Owner of Tamp Coffee shop in Devonshire Rd, Dorian, said: “We took double what we did the Sunday before”.
There were some concerns about social distancing, but the vast majority of those who came were full of praise for the initiative. The organisers had marked out social distancing for the queue, offered hand gel at the entrance and encouraged the wearing of masks even though the market was outside.
Speaking for the organisers Karen Liebreich MBE said: “At the peak we had a short clustering problem around a couple of the most popular stalls, so we put our plan into action which was to close the entrance and ask people to move along, and spread out. Mask-wearing compliance was very high. We had 60 marshals on duty over the day who all worked hard ensuring the safety of the visitors. Hounslow enforcement officers and the Met Police were on hand to assist us but did not feel any need to intervene. Safety will always be our number one consideration”.
The next Chiswick Flower Market will take place on Sunday 4th October outside George IV pub at 185 Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR