Image above: Chiswick Flower Market in the early days easing our way out of the pandemic, when wearing a mask was required; photograph Anna Kunst

Chiswick Flower Market

Chiswick Flower Market takes place on the first Sunday of every month in the Old Market Place, outside George IV pub in Chiswick High Rd.

The idea of running a flower market on the spot where soldiers returning from the First World War set up the first outdoor market in Chiswick 100 years earlier, was mooted by Ollie Saunders, a local resident and commercial property surveyor who used to trek regularly from his home in Devonshire Rd to Columbia Rd Market for flowers.

READ ALSO: Reviving the idea of an outdoor market in Chiswick High Rd 100 years on

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photograph Frank Noon

First new flower market in London for 150 years

The idea was taken up by others and enthusiastically supported at a public meeting in February 2020. The plan was to start the market in April, as a way of revitalising the economy of the High Rd.

Like everything else in 2020 that plan was scuppered by the pandemic, but the group, who are all volunteers and local residents, went ahead and set up a Community Interest Company and opened the market, with the support of LB Hounslow – the first new flower market to be opened in London in 150 years – in September 2020.

READ ALSO: Flower Market idea gets an enthusiastic reception

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photograph Frank Noon

Top thing to do in London in September 2020

It was a resounding success, with Time Out proclaiming it the top thing to do in London in September 2020 and the Evening Standard agreeing it was the best thing to do in the capital that weekend. More than seven thousand people came.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower market ‘unmissable’

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower Market a roaring success

Watch the video recorded at the first Chiswick Flower Market in September 2020 by Machis Baboulene.

The Columbia Rd of the west

The organisers (who included the editor of The Chiswick Calendar for the first 18 months, as one of the founder directors) set out to make the market ‘the Columbia Rd of West London’ and have succeeded.

There’s a mix of stall holders, which include several long established market traders from Columbia Rd as well as new start-up firms, including people who were made redundant during the pandemic and decided to set up in business for themselves.

READ ALSO: Columbia Rd market trader Steve Burridge heads west

READ ALSO: Who knew there were 40 different types of mint? 

At the request of businesses in Devonshire Rd, the market spread round the corner from Old Market Place to encourage people to visit the shops and cafe / restaurants there.

The market has stall holders selling cut flowers and live plants: bouquets of live and dried flowers, bedding plants, herbs, shrubs and hardy perennials, bulbs and houseplants as well as pots, gardening accessories and grow your own food kits.

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market; photograph Anna Kunst

Some of the best names in the business

Traders such as Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants have become regular stall holders. Rosy and Rob Hardy grow their own stock at a nursery in Hampshire and have won 24 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show over the years.

READ ALSO: Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants come to Chiswick Flower Market

Jacques Amand are very well-established bulb sellers, who sell wholesale as well as direct to customers.

READ ALSO: Jacques Amand – ‘We’re passionate about bulbs’

Urban Tropicana cut their teeth selling houseplants at Chiswick Flower Market and have gone on to open shops in Ealing and Chiswick.

READ ALSO: Setting up a new business in plants – Urban Tropicana

Image above: Local MP Ruth Cadbury does a bike delivery at the first market; photograph Anna Kunst

Sustainable regeneration

The market is very sustainability conscious, selling its own brand of jute bags in the hope of weaning people off plastic bags, and operating a free delivery service locally by bike (again, volunteers).

Several of the stall holders grow their own stock and other buy a mix of continental and British flowers. It has also been recognised that the market is doing what it set out to do and attracting customers to the existing High Rd businesses.

Anecdotally, shopkeepers have told us trade is up on Flower Market Sundays and the Government’s High Streets Task Force singled out the Chiswick Flower Market as an example of how a community group could make a difference to revitalising the local economy.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower Market chosen by national High Streets Task Force as an example of how to regenerate high roads

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower Market celebrates British Flowers Week

Image above: Chiswick Flower market; photograph Gwen Shabka

Paving the way for other markets in Chiswick High Rd

Since the Chiswick Flower Market opened, others have applied successfully to run markets in the same location. The Antiques and Vintage Market opened in May 2021, as did the Chiswick Cheese Market. The Antiques and Vintage Market runs every second Sunday of the month. The Cheese Market runs every third Sunday.

There’s also a long-established Food market that runs every Sunday morning at Dukes Meadows and the Duck Pond Market, which also opened in 2020 in Chiswick, with regular markets in the gardens of Chiswick House.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower Market uses commemorative poster by Liz Pinn, RWS

READ ALSO: Galleries of photographs from Chiswick Flower Market in

September 2020 / November 2020 / December 2020 / May 2021June 2021  / July 2021

What else is there to do in Chiswick?

See also: Open air markets – see when the next one is taking place

See also: Top ten things to do in Chiswick

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