The Brockley Central Interview: Toby Allen, Brockley Market

Brockley’s new weekly market starts on September 24th in the Lewisham College car park, Lewisham Way, from 10am-2pm. Ahead of the opening, we spoke to the guy behind it, Brockley resident Toby Allen, about his plans:

“When we open, there will be a total of 19 food stalls, selling a range of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, hot food and drinks. The plan is that visitors should be able to buy the majority of their weekly food shop or enjoy some brunch.

“The experience will be quite different to the farmers markets already serving the area in Hilly Fields and Telegraph Hill. For one thing, it’s not a farmers market – if you want that label, you have to meet certain criteria in terms of local sourcing. I think that can be quite restrictive – our focus is on quality first, locality second. Ironically, it also means more local people can trade. For example, our coffee seller will be local.

“I definitely want the market to sell as much local produce as possible and I’m keen to involve as many other local businesses as possible. I’m talking to several at the moment, and I’ll be able to share with you the final list of stallholders shortly.

“I researched a lot of other markets before I secured the site and the markets I saw in Stoke Newington and Tonbridge are the models I want most closely to emulate.

 “Long-term, the market has the potential to double in size. The site has the space and I believe the demand could be there. It’s easy to reach from Lewisham, New Cross and Deptford and within a mile radius there are 32,000 residents, who have a relatively limited choice of fresh food available locally.  There are a handful of good shops, but I think there’s room for more, especially since the closure of the Shop on the Hill.

“I’m also interesting in broadening the range of stalls. There are a lot of artists and crafts people in the area and it would be good to sell some of their work at the market.

“I know some people would have liked to see a market in Coulgate Street, but there are lots of practical reasons why that site wouldn’t have been appropriate and this site gives us a lot more room to grow. It’s a short walk from Brockley Station, very close to St Johns and very well served by buses.  While there will be some parking, I’d urge people to come on foot or by bike, to minimise the impact on the local area.

"Getting this off the ground has taken time, there are a lot of hurdles to clear and organisations who need to give their support, including the fire brigade, the police and TfL. Lewisham Council has been very supportive from the early stages. Apparently, I was the first person ever to contact their market team to ask how to set up a new one, so they were really keen to provide me with advice and guidance.

"The College too has been very engaged since I approached them in April. A number of their business course students will be involved in the marketing and promotion, giving them some practical experience with a start-up.

"My message to the people of Brockley? Please come down and see it for yourself. Give us your feedback and let us know what else you’d like to see in the future. This is just the beginning."

Email: hello@brockleymarket.com
Facebook Page: Brockley Market
Twitter: @brockleymarket

64 comments:

miaow said...

The poster with broccoli on it has got my back up, already.

Anonymous said...

why?

Anonymous said...

Got your "back up"? Seriously, does it make you angry? A poster? Featuring a vegetable? Dear oh dear

miaow said...

I can't help it, I am a graphic artist, and that kind of thing, literal translations do wind me up. Well it's not even literal it's a pun.

Anonymous said...

I Broccoli Brockley! Good luck with the Market!

Mb said...

Hurrah! Decent bacon I hope, meat is good at Welbeloved but the bacon is meh!

I'll still use the supermarket for most of my shop (let's face it, most will?) but will be keen to try this place.

(like the flyer but I'm probably not qualified, not being a graphic designer)

Anonymous said...

The design was done by local illustrator Mike Hall, he has drawn some lovely maps of the area.

http://www.thisismikehall.com/maps

He is at Crafty Fox Market this weekend, part of the Thames Festival.

10th-11th September, noon-10pm.

http://craftyfoxmarket.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

@Miaow

Why should that sort of thing wind you up? The rebus has a very long and distinguished history. Embrace it.

Anonymous said...

Good news! Can't wait to give it a try. Looking forward to hearing more about who will be selling what. Num num!

Anonymous said...

This sounds really great. Especially glad to hear that it'll be trying to give Lewisham College students various types of experience that they can add to their CVs, I thinkthat kind of thing is very important.

I am however still concerned about the fact that this will be competing with the Hilly Fields market. I (and I'm guessing most other random members of the local public) don't know anything about the constraints there might be on stallholders, and therefore I'd like to hear more about this 'locally-sourced' rule. I'd also like to know what the organisers of the Hilly Fields market think - are they (or their participants) on board? If not, are they ok about the new market? If not, do they think it might threaten their existence?

There's a 'critical mass' issue here, I know that the new market organisers can't answer all these questions, but I'd like to see more of a recognition that this IS a threat to existing markets.

Anonymous said...

PS. I'd far rather have an image of broccoli on the advertising than olives, which is so often the case. Fresh veg and decent meat is far more basically necessary than the usual 'market' staples of olives and other food-accessories. More veg and decent meat and fewer olives, would be my request.

Mb said...

Well markets of whatever hue are vehicles for suppliers getting money for produce. They are competing for custom and although perhaps not as cut throat as Tescos, all traders are competing for the same customers. That's one of the things that makes Deptford good value. Markets like these are not exempt from competing. If hilly fields was a roaring success then I'm sure this one wouldn't have bothered. To be honest I've always find hilly fields Market underwhelming. This location should generate far more custom which in turn will attract more stalls. Hilly fields keeps me engaged for about 5 mins. I guess the demise of hilly fields is not out of the question? Mind you, no reason why they shouldn't apply for a stall there.

Will be interesting to see if this takes off in the teeth of a recession

Bored of olives said...

I am impressed you can spend 5 mins at hilly fields Market. I try and support it but the stalls have got poorer and poorer and it hardly makes it worthwhile being there once every 4 weeks. I actually tried to buy some veg there last time but the stall holder was so busy talking to the one next door I gave up and went elsewhere. Looking forward to this new market. Will certainly support it if quality is good.

www.fragrancers.com said...

... Great I can't wait.... MMmmm the art work is great tooo!!!

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 2153:

Re: the definition of farmers markets - it was news to me that farmers market was a formal designation, I thought it was just an affectation, like "artisan" or whatever. However, apparently there are rules if you want to call yourself a farmers market.

I think you are right that this market clearly does represent competition to the existing farmers markets in Hilly Fields and possibly Telegraph Hill. However, I don't think it would be particularly appropriate for him to have commented on a competitor's fortunes and I didn't press him on that issue - there's only one answer one can give in those circumstances anyway, which is to say you believe there's room for both. He does explain here how he thinks the two offers will be different.

I'm not sure that the farmers markets prospects are much of a concern to anyone except the operator of those markets. Competition is healthy and legitimate.

Personally speaking, I find the Hilly Fields market incredibly underwhelming. It's too infrequent to become a habit and too small to be particularly useful. I was very excited about it when it first started but if it went, I'd barely miss it, sadly. Moreover, I think there's very little about it that makes it feel like it's part of local life. It's like a travelling fairground - the same stalls on rotation, travelling around South London. It's completely atmosphere free.

I predict this market will represent a step change compared with those markets, in the same way that the Orchard was a step change with the restaurant that operated on Harefield Road before.

That may, however, leave plenty of room for the Hilly Fields market to succeed. The area is a big place and there is plenty of spending to be competed for. Maybe it will act as a spur to that market to pull its socks up, or maybe it will just carry on ticking along.

Anonymous said...

Here are the London farmers market rules

http://www.lfm.org.uk/sell-with-us/our-rules/

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Hilly Fields - it's poorly supplied and expensive so anything which gets it to raise the bar is a move in the right direction.

I love the poster and will be there on the 24th!

Deptford Pudding said...

I like the broccoli image, it's friendly and unpretentious; but historically speaking rhubarb and pears are associated with Brockley. Joseph Myatt's gardens were the first to offer rhubarb (about 1824 ish) as commercial foodstuff, before him it was only thought of as a pharmaceutical; and there were pear orchards as evidenced by the large numbers of pear trees still thriving in the conservation area. Good luck Toby, I'll be there...

Anonymous said...

Broccoli on the flyer or no broccoli on the flyer, if the market is as good as it sounds, it's JUST what Brockley needs. like the previous blogger, I'm not a designer, but in my humble opinion, a market is judged by a market and a design by a design.

With that in mind, I'll be there...

I Broccoli Brockley said...

I think the market sounds great, and I really like the "The Brockley Central Interview" feature. There must be so many people in Brockley doing interesting stuff, you should have more threads like this Nick.

Oh, and I'm staying well out of the using-broccoli-to-promote-Brockley debate! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this interview nick. Great to hear more about the project.

I am really looking forward to this Market. We often visit maltby street for our weekly shop but would welcome a local alternative. Sounds like this will have much better variety of produce anyway. The hilly fields farmers Market was exciting at first but I'm afraid it has lost it's appeal f(or all the reasons nick has posted above).

I also love the idea that it will become a space to meet up with friends for brunch. This is pretty much my favourite weekend pursuit. Look forward to hearing more about what is on offer. Especially what the coffee will be.

Will be there on the 24th with all my friends from broccoli (and hopefully beyond)!

Good luck Toby! You are doing a great job.

@jessiehunt

P.s. I think the design is beautiful

Hugh said...

The flyer is superb. Best of luck with this venture. I'm interested to try the 'award-winning' coffee.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to see find the misanthropy in Hughs last post. Can't see it, has he had a bump on the head or did he pull last nigh?

Hugh said...

I agree that the 'farmers' market at Hilly Fields is a p*ss poor excuse for marked-up wholesale goods from some warehouse near Beckton. Half-stale bread at 3 quid a loaf? You're 'avin' a laugh entcha.

Hugh said...

Anon, forgive me, I have a weakness for excellence. I know, I know - as a leftie you find that shockingly radical.

Anonymous said...

...better. Welcome back.

Tamsin said...

I don't know if it is ever used the same way in Hilly Fields and Manor Park but in Telegraph Hill the Farmers Market is an excellent way of reaching out with information to local people. The organiser kindly allow an information stand without making a charge - as we're not selling anything - very useful for telling new people about the Festival, Park meetings etc.

I'm hoping there's room for both. The new site is a bit of a trot for those local to either Hilly Fields or Telegraph Hill Park, so once a month local and a bit limited - the other times over to Lewisham Way.

Deptford dame said...

Looking forward to seeing what the market offers, good luck with the venture.

lactose lover said...

"a range of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, hot food and drinks" But will there be dairy????

I'm thrilled about this. Perhaps the other markets will have to change and/or up their games a bit, go more specialty or something. A once monthly market is incomparable to somewhere that you can do your weekly shop which is why I go to Blackheath every Sunday rather than try to remember when the other two are on. I'm sure there's room for all.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, sorry, there will be dairy stuff too. The poster spells that out if you click to enlarge.

Miss L said...

Tamsin, "a bit of a trot"? Not really, I live about 5-10 minutes walk from both Hilly Fields and this new market location, and so does pretty much everyone who lives between Hilly Fields and St Johns.

Really looking forward to this market starting! A weekly market will be easy to incorporate into my weekly shopping routine.

Lactose Intolerant said...

There will be DAIRY!!. No one mentioned dairy. I'm seething now and I was so looking forward before...

Lactose Defence League said...

We wil be marching to defend the butter lovers that made this country great. And don't get be started on ht whole gluten business.

NO TO SOYA MILK, YES TO STUFF FROM COWS TITS!!

Lactose Intolerant said...

GET MILK FROM BEANS.

NOT FROM SENTIENT BEINGS!!!

Homemade London customer said...

Tell me oh master, what sort of bean?

Lactose Intolerant said...

You want me to say 'mung' don't you. People on here always want you to say 'mung'.

SOYA BEAN!

If we weren't meant to eat animals why are they made of meat? said...

Just how DO you milk a bean?

Headhunter said...

Good news and nicely designed poster, although I think the image of broccoli is a bit obvious. I was bored of the correlation people found between the name Brockley and the word broccoli about 2 months after moving to the area...

Lactose Intolerant said...

I think an arguement stall might go down well.

'Hello, I've come for an arguement'

'No you havn't'

Etc.

Brockley Nick said...

Did you spell argument like that just to start an argument?

Lactose Intolerant said...

Mmm Voucher for one free arguement to Nick.

Lactose Intolerant said...

Nick, you will be in the queue for the arguement without an e. That might speed things up a bit on the day.

Anonymous said...

My children only have arguments without 'E's in them... I don't believe in E numbers as a hippy from the holistics centre told me they're bad.

Hugh, maudlin after too much port said...

The holistic center closed so e hears ago, do you want an argument about it, or indeed an arguement?

By the way Im richer, smarter and better looking than all of you but I need you. I cand only validate my empty life by constantly belittling you.... MOTHER, WHY DID YOU LOCK ME UNDER THE STAIRS....WHAAAAAA!!

Todd Clever said...

@HmatmP Oh dear! Long day at the rugby eh? Oh well nice to see one Northern Hem side show some mettle.

What happened that other lot?

Tamsin said...

@Miss L - local to Telegraph Hill Farmers market is within the Conservation Area by my reckoning and within 5 minutes walk. Maybe "trot" was the wrong term to use when what I had in mind was the struggle back with heavy bags - you know the scenario, changing sides heavier to lighter at diminishing intervals and counting the paces.

And I do really hope there is room for both - I would miss the game stall in the peripatetic one and using it as an information point.

Anonymous said...

I dont know why people keep going on about the conservation area,its only conservation by name, not in what it upholds.

Tamsin said...

I referred to the TH conservation area as being basically centred on the park and defined on a public map so anyone would know what I was talking about.

Dan said...

just when I was getting used to the hustle of Lewisham market.

"Paaand a bowl"

Tressilliana said...

Tamsin, the answer to the heavy bags problem is to get a shopping trolley. Makes life a lot easier!

drakefell debaser said...

Maybe "trot" was the wrong term to use when what I had in mind was the struggle back with heavy bags -you know the scenario, changing sides heavier to lighter at diminishing intervals and counting the paces.

Tamsin, maybe it's time you got a shopping trolley...

http://ow.ly/6rGN0

drakefell debaser said...

Oops, great minds etc Tressilliana.

I've always found the farmers market on TH grim and stopped going about 4 years ago so I am definitely looking forward to giving this non-farmers one a go.

Tamsin said...

A humiliating acknowledgment of age and debility - my son refers to them as "granny trollies".

But, yes, you may be right.

Headhunter said...

I use a rucksack to transport my shopping... There's no need to rely on lots of placcy bags...

Anonymous said...

Only mungs take a RUCKSACK down to the supermarket for christs sake...

*looks at username*


...oh

Nova + Lorsten said...

Hey Tamsin, my house is in between the new market and your house, so you could always stop at mine for a cup of tea on the way home. And some trolleys are very fashionable now in a retro ironic kind of way, so you'll be bang on trend.
I think it's great news about the Brockley market - I'm going to look into taking part on the arty craftsy side.

Anonymous said...

I am so excited...but won't be here for opening weekend :(

Anonymous said...

Bad location.

If you don't believe me just imagine if Lewisham Market was moved to this car park.

The effect would be devestating on Lewisham town centre.

It would be better in many other places such as - Deptford:at the bottom of Tanners Hill, Brockley: Coulgate Street and possibly stretching into Foxberry Road or the space outside the post office depot (if Coulgate Rd isnt enough space) - there is also abandoned derelict space just off the road that could be used, New Cross: Clifton Rise

Anonymous said...

All of Leiwshams farmers markets are badly placed except perhaps Blackheath. Telegraph Hill and Hilly Fields and Deptford farmers markets are all badly placed.

Hilly Fields should perhaps experiment with moving to Ladywell.

Telegraph Hill should try Coulgate Street.

Deptford should move closer to the High Street/Douglas Way or the bottom of Tanners Lane.

What if this market moved to one of the Brockley Mews's nearer to the main Brockley parade of shops?

Anonymous said...

So the car park at lewisham college will "devastate" lewisham Market? How so? This Market and lewisham Market sound like they have quiet different offerings as well as being reasonably far apart.

You then go on to say "the bottom of tanners hill" spitting distance from Deptford Market, using your logic that would also be "devastated"

You give a list of other locations except you have no idea if they would actually give permission to hold a Market.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 15 September 2011 00:02

Does Brockley have a main parade of shops? Where is that?

Anonymous said...

I think this is a well thought through plan for a local market. If executed well, it will hopefully raise the bar for other surrounding markets by improving quality, customer service and convenience. That is what competition is supposed to do. Good luck with the launch. I won't be able to attend this weekend but will check it out the following w/e.

Alex said...

Went to the market for the first time this weekend. I was pleased to have the choice between cheap non-organic fruits/vegs and more expensive organic ones...both were very good. Bought some fish and scallops as well, that tasted really good. Bread and eggs were very fresh and tasty too. Flowers were really nice (and doesn't look like "Tesco flowers" but "real" flowers as my friends said!...). Will try the meat next time!
The location is perfect for me as I live in New Cross (less than 10min walk). I use to cycle to Blackheath market every Sunday, so this market is a great addition for I and my girl friend who've banned supermarkets.
It seems loads of family came here with kids, and enjoyed fresh food/drinks on little wood tables...this is a very good idea!

To conclude, change nothing! I'm sure this market will gather more and more people while keeping its family/local mood intact...

Alex said...

Went to the market for the first time this weekend. I was pleased to have the choice between cheap non-organic fruits/vegs and more expensive organic ones...both were very good. Bought some fish and scallops as well, that tasted really good. Bread and eggs were very fresh and tasty too. Flowers were really nice (and doesn't look like "Tesco flowers" but "real" flowers as my friends said!...). Will try the meat next time!
The location is perfect for me as I live in New Cross (less than 10min walk). I use to cycle to Blackheath market every Sunday, so this market is a great addition for I and my girl friend who've banned supermarkets.
It seems loads of family came here with kids, and enjoyed fresh food/drinks on little wood tables...this is a very good idea!

To conclude, change nothing! I'm sure this market will gather more and more people while keeping its family/local mood intact...

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