Roman Road Market Barrows

Restoration of the barrows

Traditional market barrows are a fast fading fixture in London's street trading scene. They were once the go to for a street trader: beautifully designed and built fit for purpose - strong, manoeuvrable, robust and deeply personal. They were hand crafted with a combination of many specialist skills, some of which – eg wheelwrighting – are slowly being forgotten. Many barrows were passed down from generation to generation and remain the centrepiece of East End markets but are becoming harder and harder to maintain. They are valued by traders as they provide both transport to and from the market, as well as being the platform from which a street trader can operate. This helps reduce the use of vehicles and keeps the market spaces pedestrian throughout the trading day. Proposed is an inter- borough project restoring circa 25 barrows between Tower Hamlets, Westminster and Islington.

The project will set up a temporary workshop, most likely in Globe Town off Roman Road, to house the restoration works. Each barrow would be stripped back and assessed for repairs, restoring the chassis when necessary, repairing with ash, oak or elm and including wooden shelving plus a tarp covering. A specialist wheelwright will repair or replace the wheels. Historic lettering, once marking owner and pitch, will be recarved.

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