Andy Norton, North Kensington library, writes:
Last Friday we spent an afternoon at Portobello Road Market, celebrating 150 years of local markets and promoting our own markets-inspired writing competition (more on that, below).
Despite the cold, the market was bustling and many residents stopped by to look at our photos, which showed the market from its early days.
Portobello Road began life in the 1860s as a humble country lane where farmers sold produce to local people. In 1864 the area was transformed by the opening of the Metropolitan Railway Notting Hill station – now known as Ladbroke Grove Station.
During the 1920s and 30s, Portobello and Golborne Road Market further expanded with discharged soldiers and sailors, Spanish immigrants fleeing the civil war adding to the area’s diversity. By this time, second hand clothes, shoes and ornament stalls had joined the traditional fruit, vegetables, salad, meat, fish and flowers. After the Second World War, Portuguese people settled in the area, opening several specialist shops which are still trading in Golborne Road.
Antiques started to appear in the 1940s and 50s. Most antique stalls are open only on Saturday, which has always been the market’s busiest day.
The 1940s and 50s also saw the arrival of Caribbean immigrants who came in response to post-war labour shortages.
The market has also featured in films such as Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Notting Hill (1999), and Paddington Bear (2014), as well as many television programmes, popular songs and literary works. Each has sparked the curiosity of a new generation of visitors and traders. We are hoping residents will be similarly inspired and take part in our short story competition which offers the opportunity to become a published author.
Portobello and Golborne Market is so big, so diverse, and so fast-changing, that chances are – even if you’re a frequent visitor – there’ll be stalls you’ve never discovered; arcades, nooks and crannies that you’ve never explored.
150 Years of Portobello & Golborne Market Short Story Competition!
Join RBKC Libraries & Markets for a unique literary collaboration, inspired by the rich history of our local markets.
Your short story can be written against any setting and from any period, including modern day. The only necessary link is that your inspiration should come from your thoughts about Portobello or Golborne Market.
All winning entries will be published in an anthology that will be added to the library collection.
Deadline for submissions 30th June
To register your interest and for full Terms and Conditions please email firstname.lastname@example.org