Deptford Bites gently and ‘with consideration’ as two contrasting markets line up

You don’t just get a new market in Deptford—they have one of those already. Deptford Market is one of London’s oldest—a brash, bright, large, sometimes scruffy traditional bit of old London has been shaped and melded and adjusted itself to serve the shopping needs of countless different waves of immigrants over several centuries, around long before Russia’s Peter the Great was in town fighting sailors.

It trades on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and it fills the streets that surround Deptford Market Yard, which is a rare bit of shiny, clean newness in this part of London and what we think is one of the best new event/market spaces anywhere in the capital.

Yes Deptford Market Yard is clean and new and full of small independent businesses whose owners might one day aspire to a “better” postcode for retail, but for the moment they are where they are and that means making the best of it.

And their best is very good with some excellent independent shopping, great bars and restaurant ideas in a development that grew from artistic and artisan roots and never really forgot them.

Into that landscape a new market has been started—Deptford Bites—which has the advantage of an experienced operator in Eat Me Drink Me® who are London based but like to go walkabout to a few festivals in the summer—and as the registered mark would suggest, have aspirations to go far beyond being a reputable operator of snazzy events in West London.

For the moment though what is good for Ealing will probably work in Deptford in the right space so today, 7th April is the first iteration of a weekly food, crafts and street food market and next month (5th May 2018) Deptford gets a Cheese Festival (We Love Cheese in Ealing, April 22nd).

A different style of market fills Deptford High Street each week

The advantage of all this in-breeding in 2018 London is what has worked in Ealing will now probably work in Deptford if properly served up.

Deptford we are told is the “new Shoreditch” – although not just yet.

With an eye to the future Eat Me Drink Me’s traders are willing to follow the operator’s lead into the promised land, and now a new market—very different to the one beyond the Deptford Market Yard parapet—has arrived in town.

And it is different.

For a start there is not just a market but an entire food conference—chaired by Grace Dent—at the opening event, with a theme that seems to be based around changes in Deptford —”5 minutes from London Bridge” in Estate Agent speak — which have already come to Hackney and seem certain to happen here.

The title of the first talk “We Come in Peace – Anchoring the past” is possibly the first indication that thought needs to be given regarding fears of likely or impending gentrification which have already seen two “improvement” projects (Shepherd’s Bush and Chrisp Street) holed below the waterline.

It would not appear however for the moment that Deptford Market (the one outside) judging by the number of stalls is much under threat. Deptford Bites may hold sway on social media but it is the other market, boisterous and slightly tacky that still controls the streets in London SE8.

And in the end much of what might be regarded as confrontational is not really happening here – not so much the gnashing of teeth but a bit of a cosy up.

A few “regular market” people—’poorer, older, bad teeth’ said a man who claimed to know about these things—spill in from outside and get the kind of slightly over glassy-smiling reception that known atheists get at a church fete. But it is all rather warm hearted although there is no offer of a free lunch.

The stalls inside are of the kind I would want to buy from, those outside, largely not. But there seems at east to be some recognition here that change cannot come with a wrecking ball and there needs to be a period of adjustment where the various needs markets can serve can coexist, social inclusion and cheaper food for those that want it, or something better for those who can and want to take the step up.

A review of the Deptford Bites Market will follow shortly


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