Chiswick Flower Market

Sunday 6 September 2020 sees the opening of Chiswick Flower Market, the first new flower market in London in 150 years

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus people have changed their habits. They think twice about getting on public transport to go into London, preferring to do their shopping locally.

People from all over London, and many tourists have visited East London’s Columbia Rd flower market, but in June a notice went up on their website saying: “If you live in the area, please stop by and support your local businesses. But if you live further away, please consider visiting a market closer to home and helping us to avoid unsafe overcrowding”.

Image above: Stall at Columbia Rd Flower Market, spring 2020; photograph by Steve Nutt

The Columbia Rd of West London

Lucky then that residents of Chiswick were already planning to set up a market which they hope will become ‘the Columbia Rd of West London’. Ollie Saunders, Karen Liebreich and Bridget Osborne are the three directors of the new market. Ollie, a commercial surveyor, loves flowers and would regularly make the trek to Columbia Rd. Karen, an author, has set up many community projects involving plants as a director of the not for profit organisation Abundance London. Bridget is the editor of The Chiswick Calendar.

Ollie’s original idea led to a public meeting in the back of a pub in February. The enthusiasm at that meeting gave the fledgling project the impetus to start work on licencing, traffic management, contacting traders and so on, helped immensely by the immediate backing of Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council.

Image above: Stall at Columbia Rd Flower Market, spring 2020; photograph by Steve Nutt

Something for everyone

Three months of lockdown threw a bit of a spanner in the works, but a dedicated group of volunteers have been working on this all year, we heard on Thursday 9 July that we’d got the licence to open a market and now here we are, with the grand opening on Sunday 6 September at 09.30. The first time a new flower market has been opened in London since Victorian philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts established Columbia Rd market in 1869. (Not counting the wholesale market at Nine Elms, relocated there from Covent Garden in the 1970s.)

The stalls have been carefully picked to provide a range of plants, from bulbs and bedding plants to exotic house plants. The traders range from experienced market traders who have operated at Columbia Rd for years and are excited to be expanding westward, to established Chiswick plant sellers and local start-ups, trying out their business model in a local market before investing in a shop.

Image above: Stall at Columbia Rd Flower Market, spring 2020; photograph by Steve Nutt

Revitalising the economy of the High Rd

The hope is that the new market will be a focus for people to come and spend their Sunday in Chiswick. Buy a couple of plants. Leave them at the Plant Creche for volunteer cyclists to deliver them to your home later, while you enjoy a meal or a pint and wander around Chiswick’s many interesting, independent shops.

The market will be open from 09.30am – 3.00pm at the Old Market Place, outside the police station, opposite Waterstones in Chiswick High Rd. W4 2DW on the first Sunday of every month. The site is that of Chiswick’s original outdoor market, set up by soldiers returning from the First World War in 1919.

Read more about the history of Chiswick’s first market here.

Market dates

Sunday 6th September
Sunday 4th October
Sunday 1st November
Sunday 6th December

Read more about the Chiswick Flower Market on the website.

Read More Stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market gets an enthusiastic reception

See also: Chiswick Market centenary