East Ham Market Hall traders still serving in spite of demolition next door
PUBLISHED: 18:22 27 June 2019
The last remaining traders at an historic market which is gradually being demolished have declared they are still up for business.
Shopkeepers at East Ham Market Hall's final outpost in Kina House, Pilgrims Way, want customers to know that in spite of the bulldozers moving onto the main site next door, their doors are firmly open.
Ibrahim Patel, who has run East Ham Fashion Watches since 1998, said: "I have loyal customers. I want to keep going here until my last breath."
In all 11 businesses still operate but trade has dropped off a bit with people seeing the diggers next door and thinking the market has gone completely.
But as Michelle Fitzgibbons of Land Management which runs the market explained, shopkeepers are still keen to serve.
"It's gone quite quiet," Michelle said. "But we are still here and still trading for a good while yet. [Store holders] still have to put food on the table."
Eighteen businesses found new premises before work began on 277 flats at the neighbouring two acre site off High Street North.
Land Management is busy trying to find alternatives for those at Kina House which will need to move eventually.
But until then the market's traders will carry on selling a range of products including rugs, carpets, watches, lighters and computer parts. Besides offering services such as a cut and blow dry starting at £15 from Salma's Salon.
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Bryan Munday first came to the market with his parents at the age of two. He's now 74.
"It's a lovely market, but we need customers and to make sure people know we're still here," Bryan said.
Naseem Walimohamed has loved running the Coffera café, where an English breakfast costs a fiver, from the hall.
"It's not as hectic as the High Street here. There's a relaxed atmosphere. I would like this place to last forever. We want to prosper," Naseem said.
"There's a really nice atmosphere here. It's like a little family," Michelle added.
Yatin Patel, who runs Zen Smoking Accessories, has also seen a drop in trade even though he sells hundreds of original products at prices he says are unbeatable.
But the market, which started in 1922, is more than just a treasure trove of products. There's a wealth of memories here.
Loyal customer, Kerry Knubley, said: "It's been here all my life. It's something like an anchor.
"Very few of my family are left here. It's comforting to have something left."
On July 6 children can get their faces painted at the market for free between 11am and 3pm.