Greenwich Market was bathed in sunlight on the morning of Wednesday 21 April 2016 as HRH The Duke of York unveiled a plaque marking the completion of an extensive restoration project
HRH The Duke of York, Patron of the Royal Navy’s oldest charity, Greenwich Hospital, unveiled a plaque hand crafted by The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop in a ceremony to mark the creation of a Greenwich Market fit for the 21st century.
‘I have been truly inspired by the stallholders I have seen today,’ said The Duke, who met stall holders and well-wishers. ‘I wish all of you every success as stallholders and with millions of visitors coming to Greenwich, these works are a great addition and a continuing addition. Congratulations to everyone who has participated, co-ordinated and helped with this project.’
He also spoke of his naval career, which brought him to Greenwich many years ago as a student: ‘Unfortunately, while I was studying at the Royal Naval College I never had the opportunity to come and visit the market. I was shown what the market used to be like and the plans for the work. I have to say, I am really, really impressed.’
Greenwich Market, London’s only historic market set within a World Heritage site, is one of the capital’s most popular arts and craft markets with up to 150 stalls showcasing the work of local talented designer makers. Greenwich Hospital embarked on the project to enhance the market, which has been in the ownership of the Hospital since 1694, in September 2012.
Greenwich, home to many wonderful buildings, is a living and evolving part of London with a thriving local community
‘Greenwich is home to many wonderful buildings within the World Heritage Site and it is also, very importantly, a living and evolving part of London with a thriving local community,’ said Gillie Bexson, Head of Property at Greenwich Hospital, who led the project. ‘The wellbeing of the Greenwich locals, both now and in the future, is at the heart of these enhancement works. Now we have polished our family silver, it is looking fantastic!’
The roof, which was installed in 1908, has been stripped back and cleaned to remove old layers of paint, and new glass, new lighting and electrics have been installed. The historic cobblestone flooring has been levelled and re-laid and the modern brick walkways have been replaced with granite paving. Light now floods into the market, providing a worthy backdrop for one of London’s favourite designer-maker craft markets.
A new food court area, The Pavilion, has been created just off the main market on Durnford Street and provides a much needed seating and relaxation area for visitors to the market. Within the food court is a striking new piece of public artwork, a 230cm bronze sphere made up of 210 figures.
Encompass, by local sculptor Michael Speller, was inspired by the support given to beneficiaries by the Greenwich Hospital. The interwoven figures, conjure up sailors climbing the rigging of a tall ship, culminate in a domed roof that reference the famous twin domes of Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Naval College.
The piece incorporates ‘found objects’ from the Thames, tools and objects used by craft workers in the market, films set on location in the area here and words, donated by local school children, that are associated with Greenwich. Both objects and text have been impressed upon the figures thereby giving some degree of uniformity to the sculpture.
Greenwich Market is open 7 days a week from 10am-5.30pm